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A field report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the course environmental studies

By Lav Gupta (110505)

Department of lectronics and !ommunication n"ineerin" #ational $nstitute of %echnolo"y& 'uru(shetra )01*



+irst of all $ ,ould li(e to e-press my sincere "ratitude to the department of !ivil n"ineerin"& #$% 'uru(shetra that "ave me such a "reat opportunity. $ ,ould li(e to than( the !ourse !oordinator for his advice throu"hout the duration of the course. $ e-tend my deepest sense of "ratitude to /r.#.'.Das& for his sincere efforts as a "uide. #o, $ ,ould li(e to than( all the teachers of the colle"e and my entire batch mates for their support and encoura"ement. $ truly admire my parents for their constant encoura"ement and endurin" support& ,hich is inevitable for the success of my venture. Above all& $ than( God almi"hty abidin" (ind blessin"s forever.


%he river 0amuna& the lifeline of Delhi& is "radually dyin". 1ampant industrial pollution and untreated se,a"e is cho(in" the river. Despite "overnment norms& the se,a"e treatment plants continue to be underutili2ed. %he city "enerates 350 million "allons of se,a"e per day a"ainst an installed capacity of 51) million "allons. But only 450 million "allons of se,a"e reaches the treatment plants. A deadline of )01) has been set to ensure no untreated se,a"e "oes into the river. fforts are also on to chec( the pollution levels from the nei"hborin" state of 5aryana. %he seriousness of the contamination ,as hi"hli"hted in a study underta(en by % 1$. $t sho,ed ho, despite "overnment efforts industrial effluents and untreated se,a"e continue to cho(e the river. $n fact& the to-ins have polluted the "round ,ater and soil. $t has entered our food chain throu"h the ve"etables "ro,n on the ban(s and continues to affect the people livin" on the ban(s.

A still of 0amuna river


%o estimate the concentration of heavy metals (nic(el& lead& cadmium& cobalt& arsenic) in the irri"ation ,ater& drin(in" ,ater and soil of 0amuna river basin6 %o measure the levels of heavy metal contamination of select crops "ro,n ,ith untreated and treated river ,ater used for irri"ation purpose in the 0amuna basin6

%o measure and compare levels of heavy metal accumulation in biomar(ers from adult ,omen and children from communities usin" potentially contaminated ,ater for cultivation6

1evie, current heavy metal removal "overnment pro"ramme and technolo"ies in the 0amuna basin


%he levels of nic(el (#i)& man"anese (/n)& and lead (7b) in 0amuna ,ater ,ere found to be hi"her than the international aquatic ,ater quality criteria for fresh ,ater. Levels of #i& /n& 7b& and mercury (5") ,ere above the permissible international standards in a"ricultural soil alon" the river. /oderately hi"h levels of contamination ,ere recorded in urban areas ,hile the rural areas sho,ed ne"li"ible levels. 5i"h level of pollutants in the flood plains can be associated ,ith treated and untreated effluents or ,ith se,a"e flo,in" into the river.

%,o hotspots for soil contamination ,ere identified 88 around 9a2irabad and at :(hla barra"e. 5i"her levels of analysed heavy metals contaminants ,ere found here.

$ndustrial activities involvin" metal alloys& coal& and oil combustion contribute to these metals in our environment such as metal coatin"s& ma"netic tapes& and pi"ments for paints also add to the heavy metal concentrations in the ,aste,ater. %he mi-in" of ,aste ,ith river initiates the contamination of not ;ust ,ater but also the flood plains.

<e"etables "ro,n in the flood plains of the 0amuna area sho, hi"her levels of heavy metals contamination than those cultivated in rural areas& thus actin" as the entry point for to-ic metals into the human food chain. %he Delhi8based 0amuna a"ricultural area included in the study lies intermittently in a )) (m stretch and has a spread of less than a (ilometre.

Bio8monitorin" of vulnerable population 88 ,omen and children in the study area 88 ,as underta(en. =i"nificantly hi"her levels of heavy metals (5"& !r& 7b) in urine and blood samples ,ere measured in urban than rural une-posed participants 88 a reflection of the environment each "roup lives in.

$n the 0amuna ban( area& )4> of sampled children had blood lead levels above the 10 ?"@dl& a ,idely accepted "uideline the limit above ,hich adverse health effects have been noted. %he li(elihood of hi"h blood lead level is ei"ht times ,hen e-posed to 0amuna ban( area as compared to rural area ,hen ad;usted for the duration of stay and a"e of child.

ffective implementation of re"ulations for ,aste disposal& promotion of cleaner technolo"ies& re"ular monitorin" of hot spots and raisin" a,areness about health effects

,ould ensure the ne, be"innin" that is sou"ht by both environmental scientists and public health interest "roups.



A"ricultural field on the As part of the study& from 14 locations& every barra"e and covered a

ban(s of 1iver 0amuna ,ater samples ,ere ta(en ) (m from the 9a2irabad stretch of )) (m of the

river 0amuna flo,in" throu"h Delhi. =oil samples ,ere collected from a"ricultural fields on the 0amuna flood plains at different depths 8 15& )5& 30 cm a ,ell as )50 and 500 meter a,ay from the river& to study the e-posure levels of plants at different root len"ths. =imilar samples ,ere also collected from Dayalpur and !handa,ali villa"es in the Ballab"arh district of 5aryana& )5 (m from the Delhi to ;ud"e the e-tent of contamination. /oderate levels of to-ic metals (nic(el& lead& man"anese& chromium& mercury& 2inc) ,ere evident in the ,ater at several locations. At one particular location& lead levels ,ere found to be 10 times more than else,here in the river. At another point near a thermal po,er plant& the mercury concentration ,as )00 times hi"her than the levels determined by Anited =tates nvironmental 7rotection A"ency (A= 7A). %his reinforced the need for stricter norms to control effluents dischar"ed by industries& po,er plants& and other sources of pollution.

9ater samples from the river sho,ed hi"h levels of #ic(el& /an"anese& Lead& /ercury


=oil samples ,ere collected from the river ban( to determine the contamination levels in the flood ban(. %hese levels e-ceeded commonly used international reference values for nic(el and chromium levels in soil. Lead levels ran"ed from belo, detection to *0 times over the permissible limits. /ercury concentrations too ,ere much hi"her than permissible standard at all locations. 9a2irabad and :(hla barra"e sho,ed hi"h levels of different metals. A possible reason for this is the industrial effluents. 9hile the 9a2irabad section of the river receives ,aste,ater from #a;af"arh and its supplementary drains& the =hahdara drain releases its load do,nstream at the :(hla barra"e.

A,areness creation and questionnaire survey Durin" the monsoon season& the river ,ater floods the land and contaminates reach the soil. %he ve"etables "ro,in" in this soil absorb the contaminants. <e"etables "ro,n in the flood plains namely 88 spinach& cauliflo,er& and radish ,ere tested for the contaminants. %he concentration of heavy metals ,as found to be the hi"hest in spinach& follo,ed by cauliflo,er and the least in radish. %his is in accordance ,ith research findin"s ,hich su""est that leafy ve"etables are hi"h accumulators of heavy metals. %hese ve"etables become the carriers of heavy metals in our food chain.

A survey amon" the residents to determine the symptoms of their illness

A comparison ,ith the ve"etables "ro,n in the villa"es of Ballab"arh sho,ed absence of metal components in the three ve"etables sampled8spinach& cauliflo,er& and radish. A hi"her concentration of lead& nic(el& and chromium ,as found in the bloodstream of the inhabitants on the 0amuna ban( ,hen compared ,ith villa"e ,omen and children. %he issue of environmental contamination has been a critical concern. -tensive research has been underta(en on the issue. %he "overnment too has ta(en steps to control contamination li(e relocation of industries& settin" up effluent treatment plants& phasin" out the use of mercury in healthcare equipment etc (see bo-).

Blood sample collection by trained officials %he study recommended re"ular bio8monitorin" of different environmental compartments and of the population livin" in areas threatened by contaminants. %he pollutants must be treated at various sources 88 both industrial and domestic ,aste ,ater. =afer technolo"ies are needed to reduce release of heavy metals in air and ,aste ,ater. 7ollution control and ,aste mana"ement a"encies need to adopt a stron" role in controllin" environmental e-posure. -posure particularly from point sources such as industries needs particular attention as rapid "ro,th is bound to add to these challen"es. Buality data on health effects and re"ular monitorin" of public health is essential to understand the e-tent of the problem. 1aisin" a,areness and buildin" capacity in the field of e-posure assessment and associated health effects of environmental pollutants should be an inte"ral part of "ro,th. Addressin" these issues ,ould require strate"ies ,hich inte"rate environmental concerns and resources allocation.



1elocation of industries has been underta(en since )003 and by )00C nearly 1D&E01 industries had shifted to le"itimate industrial clusters. =ome industries li(e the coal8based $ndraprastha po,er plant ,as also decommissioned in )010.

$n order to re"ulate the quality of dischar"e of ,aste,ater& the !entral 7ollution !ontrol Board& in 1CED& evolved /inimal #ational =tandards (/$#A=) for dischar"e of effluent under the provision of the nvironment (7rotection) Act of 1CE3. =ome 10 !ommon


ffluent %reatment 7lants (! %7s) have been built for the e-istin" 41 industrial clusters in the past decade.

%he /inistry of

nvironment F +orest (/o +) has initiated measures to establish

"uidelines for restrictin" the use of mercury in ener"y efficient li"htin" products& li(e fluorescent lamps (+L) and !ompact +luorescent Lamps (!+L). /ercury phase8out committee ,as created to formulate the reduction in usa"e of mercury8based equipment in the healthcare industry.

%o chec( e-posure to lead& Bureau of $ndian =tandards (B$=) has set standards for lead concentrations. 7aint manufacturers too have come for,ard to provide lead8free compositions to reduce e-posure to ha2ardous chemicals.

%o encoura"e industry to adopt eco8friendly production methods& G comar(G& a voluntary eco8labellin" scheme ,as launched. $t prescribed limits for a ran"e of heavy metals& includin" lead& chromium and mercury for their presence in various products.

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!hrome recovery plants for the chrome tannin" units have been proposed. Lead free petrol ,as introduced in )000 for the entire country.

%he recommendations of the study areH

#eed to develop "uideline values and re"ulations to monitor levels of heavy metals in a"ricultural soil& surface ,ater& and farm produce. 1e"ular bio8monitorin" of different environmental compartments and population livin" in areas of hi"h contamination.


Development of safer technolo"ies and alternatives to reduce release of heavy metal in air and ,ater. Addressin" treatment of such pollutants from various sources 88 industrial and domestic ,aste ,ater.

Adoptin" protective measures to prevent leachin" of contaminants from sites such as landfills and fly ash ponds.

$ncreased a,areness on effects of persistent pollutants on our environment that ,ould promote measures such as careful selection of appropriate ve"etables& promotion of crop rotation& cultivation of non8food crops for polluted areas& ,aste se"re"ation.