‘Water bodies in city highly contaminated’

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 11 Apr 2018 10:33:06


By Ajay Mardikar,


Consuming fish from city lakes can cause cancer

Naik Talao most contaminated

The city lakes are highly contaminated with heavy metals, which have even been found absorbed in the gills and muscles of fish in these lakes.

Research for doctoral degree by Manisha D Giripunje has shown Tilapia fish is unsafe for consumption. That too those fished out from Naik talao is contain more quantity of the heavy metals, like zinc, lead, nickel, copper and cadmium.

Giripunje studied water samples from 18 bodies in Maharashtra, including four lakes in Nagpur - Ambazari, Futala, Gandhi Sagar and Naik Talao. Higher concentration of these heavy metals are found in gills compared to muscles. The results were compared with the standards laid down by Bureau of Indian Standards for water quality, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and World Health Organisation for fish quality. Concentration of lead and cadmium were found at high levels. The fish from Naik Talao were found to have heavy metals zinc, lead, nickel, copper and cadmium.

Immersion of idols in these lakes is considered to be the most prominent reason for contamination of the water. Littering around the lakes by visitors, discharge of garbage by residents near the lakes, washing cattle are other reasons causing contamination. Giripunje also studied changes in contamination levels with the changing seasons.
Presence of Phytoplankton (unicellular microscopic algae) is considered to be an indicator for detecting contamination in water bodies. Besides identifying Phytoplankton species from various lakes in the state, Giripunje has categorised the water based on pollution level. She claims that the study would provide insight into proper management strategies for water bodies in the state.

Phytoplankton is fundamental indicator of ecosystem. It is sensitive to environmental changes at small scale. Growth of Phytoplankton depends on availability of carbon dioxide, sunlight and nutrients. Nutrients required are nitrate, phosphate, silica and calcium. Samples from 18 lakes in Maharashtra were collected to test temperature, pH (hydrogen ion concentration), total solids, dissolved oxygen, alkalinity, total hardness, phosphate, sulphate, heavy metals etc.

Kirtanwadi lake in Ratnagiri was found to be least polluted, while Sambhaji Lake in Solapur, Ramala in Chandrapur and Naik Talao in Nagpur are highly polluted. Entire aquatic life is adversely affected due to these pollutants. Fish which constitute a major part of the food for human being, can cause dangerous health problems, including cancer.
Giripunje has suggested that regular health check-up of those consuming fish, at least from these water bodies, must be conducted.

Awareness among people about the dangerous fallout of polluting the water bodies is should be undertaken. The experts can suggest plant species to be used near these water bodies. These plants are selected for absorption of heavy metals and other pollutants.

Manisha Giripunje was awarded PhD in Environmental Science, by RTM Nagpur University during the convocation held recently. She carried out her research work under the supervision of Dr Pravin U Meshram from Sevadal Mahila Mahavidyalaya, Nagpur.