High metal pollution at the Old Brahmaputra River

Metal pollution at the Old Brahmaputra River. Photo: Collected

Metal pollution is now a massive headache for the world. Heavy metals are very dangerous due to their profusion, persistence, and toxicity. River water is being polluted by heavy metals day by day. River water act as a hub for heavy metals since wastes and effluents are discharged without considering the river health.

Consequently, metals enter into the water, get mixed with sediment. Aquatic organisms (i.e. fish) ingest these metals with food and water. Finally, these metals find their way into the human body via food. Overexposure to Pb, Hg, As, Cd, Cr causes irritation or damage to the body.

The high concentrations of metals are also responsible for headaches, depression, drowsiness, confusion, seizures, life-threatening complications, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, diarrhea, skin problems, brain damage, nerve disease of the extremities, respiratory diseases, lack of appetite, heart and/or kidney damage. Some heavy metals are carcinogenic (prone to cause cancer).

The Old Brahmaputra River, close to the Narsingdi district (24°08′03.76″N & 90°47′09.62″E), is one of the most important ecosystems with more aquaculture farms. It plays a very important role in minimizing rural poverty and supplying food to the poor fishing community as well as for local people. It is an active river that plays a significant role in morphological changes in the downstream area.

Continuous variations of the river’s course constitute a significant factor in the hydrology of the Brahmaputra. There are a lot of textile craft industries and dying industries along the Old Brahmaputra River. Moreover, domestic sewage adds another pollution dimension of the river. In the summer season, the river water layer gets down and water gets mixed with the pollutants discharged by these industries.

“In the present study, some metals (Al, Mn, Ni, Cd) in the river water exceed the permissible limit set by different international standards. These metal concentrations were high compared to most of the river of Bangladesh. Textile and dying industries are the main contributors of these metals in the Old Brahmaputra River” Professor Dr. Md. Rashed Un Nabi said.

Professor Dr. Md. Shafiqul Islam mentioned that “Heavy metals are a curse to the present and upcoming generation. River water is being heavily polluted with metals from industries. We found excessive metal in the river sediment that is above the limit set by an international organization. It is shocking news for us”.

River water is great resources for the local community as well as for the country. The river has multifarious use and has an immense impact on the local and national economy.

“The Old Brahmaputra River is a very Dynamic River and it has a contribution to the economy of the country. Mostly it provides us with fish and other resources. It’s high time to protect the river from the aggression of the industrial sector,” Muhammad Abu Bakar said. He also added “Detection of the heavy metals and the resulted concentrations in water and sediment of the river can be an effective tool river ecosystem guard.

Bhuyan said, “We really need industrialization for our economic growth since this sector has great contribution on the economy of the country. We cannot make our existence vulnerable to haphazard industrialization. If we disturb our nature, certainly it will take revenge. The consequence of revenge is clear to us. We have to face different natural calamities every year. We are experiencing some chronic diseases than the past due to unplanned industrialization and urbanization.

Domestic wastes also contribute to the pollution issue. Many scientists around the globe reported that heavy metals toxicity is very harmful and sometimes leads to premature death. Since their long persistent, non-biodegradable nature, and bio accumulation in the food chain. For the betterment of the existing situation, we need to be more cautious and responsible. We should promote eco-friendly industrialization and proper management of the effluent. Effluent treatment plant (ETP) must be operated in the industry before discharge the effluent in the river water”.

“Our research result was published in Applied Water Science Journal (Springer Journal). This research output has novelty and a good resource for the river research” added Professor Dr. Md. Shafiqul Islam.

Professor Dr. Md. Rashed Un Nabi reported that the findings of our study would be helpful for the scientist, academics and policymakers of the country. It could be meaningful data in the proper management of the river and sustainable establishment of the industrial sector”.

Research conducted by
Md. Rashed Un Nabi, Professor of Faculty of Marine Sciences and Fisheries, University of Chittagong, Chittagong, Bangladesh; Md. Shafiqul Islam, Professor Faculty of Marine Sciences and Fisheries, University of Chittagong; Muhammad Abu Bakar, Senior Scientific Officer, Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Chittagong; Md. Simul Bhuyan, Researcher, Faculty of Marine Sciences and Fisheries, University of Chittagong, Chittagong, Bangladesh

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are the author’s own. Therefore, the Bengal Discover Authority won’t take any legal or any other responsibility for the content or accuracy of the author’s opinion for the articles published herein.