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Environ Earth Sci

DOI 10.1007/s12665-015-4062-y

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Assessment of heavy metal contamination in the surface sediments
in the mangrove ecosystem of Gulf of Kachchh, West Coast
of India
Goutam Kumar • Manoj Kumar • A. L. Ramanathan

Received: 22 May 2014 / Accepted: 11 January 2015
Ó Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Abstract This study was an attempt to understand the
role of biogeochemical processes in controlling
the heavy metal distribution in the mangroves and to
assess heavy metal pollution load (viz. Cr, Fe, Mn, Co, Ni,
Cu, Zn, Cd, and Pb) in the Gulf of Kachchh, India. Various biogeochemical processes and anthropogenic factors
were playing an important role in altering the concentration
of heavy metals in the sediments. A significant correlation
of Mn, Fe and Pb with Zn implies the role of diffused
anthropogenic activities. The organic carbon content
(1.47–3.25 %) and clay content (0.1–2.5 %) seem to play
a significant role in the metal concentration. Factor analysis
suggested two different processes, Factor I strongly indicating anthropogenic activities and Factor II indicating the
combination of natural, marine in situ reduction processes
(biogeochemical) with partial anthropogenic influence.
The enrichment factor (EF) and Geochemical Index (Igeo)
of Cu were higher at Old Bedi Port (S5), whereas both
these values were higher for Cu as well as Cd at JamSalaya (S8). Igeo values indicate that sediments around the
estuarine mouths were polluted with heavy metals as
compared to other locations. Except Chodeshwar (S9), PLI
value [1 was reported in almost all the locations, with a
slightly higher value reported at Narara (S7); (1.57) and
New Bedi Port (S4); (1.56). The findings of this study
would help in formulating guidelines for controlling the
pollution and suggest the ways by which the mangroves of
the Gulf of Kachchh could be revitalized.

G. Kumar  M. Kumar  A. L. Ramanathan (&)
School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University,
New Delhi 110067, India
e-mail: alrjnu@gmail.com

Keywords Gulf of Kachchh  Sediment  Heavy metals 
Pollution Load Index (PLI)  Average Shale Values
(ASV)  All Composite Locations (ACL)

Introduction
Coastal and marine ecosystems are potentially at risk due
to a high concentration of heavy metals in the sediments.
Salinity (Coakley et al. 1993), freshwater discharge
(Forstner and Whittmann 1981; Chakraborty et al. 2012),
flow rates (Schoellhamer 1995) and geomorphological
setup are important factors which affect the concentration
of heavy metals in the sediments within estuaries. Sediments made up of different grain size such as clay, silt and
sand, and other geochemical phases like organic material,
oxides of iron and manganese, carbonates and sulphide
complexes, act as potential binding sites for metals which
enter in an estuarine system (Jonathan et al. 2004; Kumar
et al. 2013a, b). Sediments have the ability to accumulate
and assimilate heavy metals even from low concentrations
in the overlying water column (Tam and Wong 2000; El
Nemr et al. 2007). Seawater quality could be directly
affected by the metal contamination of surface sediments.
This may be potentially harmful to the sensitive lowest
levels of the food chain and consequently pose a risk to
human health. Complex processes of exchange of materials
determine the distribution of metals within the aquatic
environments. These processes are influenced by various
anthropogenic activities and by natural processes like
coastal and seafloor erosion, and inputs from riverine,
biological activities, water drainage, industrial effluents
and air-borne matter precipitation (Leivouri 1998; Ip et al.
2007). The toxicity, resistance to degradation and tendency
to bio-accumulate make heavy metals ecologically critical

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Environ Earth Sci

(Diagomanolin et al. 2004). Anthropogenic sources of
heavy metals are textile industries, pipes, metal smelting
industries, fungicide or pesticide industries, landfill leachates and secondary precipitation of polluted airborne matter
(Bandl 1995; Pesticide Information Office 2005).
Estuarine environment of the Gulf of Kachchh has not
been extensively explored with reference to metal contaminations. Very limited studies focused on physicochemical aspects of water and sediments (GUIDE 2000;
Saravanakumar et al. 2008; Kumar et al. 2010), sediment
dynamics (Pradhan et al. 2004), abundance and seasonal
variations of phytoplankton in creek water (Saravanakumar
et al. 2008) and microbial diversity in the surface sediments (Kumar et al. 2013a, b) have been done. There is a
high fluctuation in physicochemical conditions due to
active interaction of fluvial-marine environment (Kumar
et al. 2010), surface washout from nearby cities and precipitation of airborne particles (Takeoka and Murano
1993). The main objective of the current study was to know
about the spatial variation of the various heavy metal
contamination in the estuarine environment of the Gulf of
Kachchh.

Material and method
Study area
The Gulf of Kachchh lies approximately between latitudes 22° to 23°N and longitudes 68° to 70° 300 E, with
an area of approximately 7,300 km2 (Fig. 1). The major
portion of the study area (Jamanagar district; Okha to
Jodiya) has already been declared as the Marine National
Park. The climate is semi-arid and the maximum rainfall
is of the order of 50 cm yr-1. There are no major river
flows into the Gulf of Kachchh, but a seasonal runoff has
been observed from some small rivers (viz. Nagavanti
river, Und river and Ghi river). Shore material is the
major source of the sediment in the study area as the
damming of the Indus River has considerably decreased
the amount of sediment delivered to the Arabian Sea
(Giosan et al. 2005, 2006). Many industries like metal
smelting, cement, salt industries, textile and ship dismantling are situated in nearby towns like Jamnagar,
Kandla, Mundra Mandvi, Sikka and Salaya which are the
potential source of heavy metal pollution in the estuary
of the Gulf of Kachchh.
Sample collection and preservation
The representative samples, in triplicate, from nine different locations (n = 27; 1 kg each) of surface sediments
(up to 10 cm depth) were collected in October 2008 from

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the inter-tidal regions of the mangroves. The sampling
locations were selected in such a manner as to gain an
insight into the pristine biogeochemical processes and
interaction between the anthropogenic and natural components in the Gulf of Kachchh. Samples were collected
from the vicinity of the river mouth to the Gulf, considering the influence of rivers viz. Nagavanti river (Mundra:
S1), Und river (Jodiya: S2) and Ghi river (Jam-Salaya: S8).
Samples were also collected from Sachana (S3), New Bedi
Port (S4), Old Bedi Port (S5), Sikka (S6), Narara (S7), and
Chodeshwar (S9) to study the anthropogenic influence of
surface washout as well as dry deposition. The samples
were collected in pre cleaned polythene bags in such a
manner to avoid any contamination followed by stored in
the ice chest and transported to the laboratory at Jawaharlal
Nehru University, New Delhi, for further analysis.
Sample analysis
The final powdered form of sediment samples were analyzed with Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence (EDXRF) (model: PANalytical Epsilon 5). The accuracy of the
analytical procedure, which was checked by analyzing the
Standard Reference Materials (SRMs) of Canadian soil
standards (SO-1, SO-2, SO-3 and SO-4), showed a variation between 5 and 10 %. The dry sieving was carried out
by electromagnetic sieve shaker (Fritsch Analysette-3) into
250 lm (medium sands), 125 lm (fine sands), 63 lm (very
fine sands), 37 lm (very coarse silt) and \37 lm (clay) for
grain size analysis. The further separation of 63 lm was
done by wet sieving by Attenburg Sedimentation Cylinder’s Method based on Stokes’ law. The textural parameters were computed using the formulae as defined by Folk
and Ward (1957) (Kumar et al. 2010). Organic carbon of
the sediment samples was estimated using the Walkley–
Black method (1934).
Enrichment factor (EF), Index of Geo-accumulation
(Igeo) and Pollution Load Index (PLI)
The extent of sediment contamination was assessed using
the Enrichment Factor (EF) and Geo-accumulation Index
(Igeo). EF is a good tool to differentiate the occurrence of
metal pollution through natural or anthropogenic activities
(Morillo et al. 2004; Selvaraj et al. 2004). Using EF, the
concentrations of the metals in the sediments were normalized to the textural characteristic of the sediments. The
normalization of the metals in the sediments is usually
done with Al which is found in the form of aluminasilicates
and is the principal component of costal sediments. The EF
can also be used to determine the degree of sedimentation
(Lee et al. 1998; Huang and Lin 2003; Woitke et al. 2003).
For the metals under consideration, the EF values were

Environ Earth Sci
Fig. 1 Sampling locations (IRS
P6-LISS III image, October,
2008) of the study area

interpreted with respect to crust average values (Taylor and
Kolbe 1964; Birth 2003). According to Dragovic et al.
(2008) the metal EF calculations can be performed using
Eq. (1):
EF ¼ ð½M=½AlÞsoil=ð½M=½AlÞcrust

ð1Þ

where [M] is the concentration of desired element under
investigation and [Al] is the concentration of Al in soil and
crust, respectively. Concentration of each element of crust

has been taken from Taylor and Mclennan (1995).
According to Taylor and Kolbe (1964) there is no enrichment if the EF \ 1, there is a minor enrichment if EF \ 3,
a moderate enrichment if EF = 3–5 and extremely severe
enrichment if EF [ 50.
The Igeo is calculated to assess the metal pollution in
soils (Muller 1979) using Eq. (2):
Igeo ¼ log2 ðCn =1:5  Bn Þ;

ð2Þ

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Environ Earth Sci

where Cn is the measured concentration of heavy metal in
the soil, Bn is the geochemical background value in average
shale (Taylor and Mclennan 1995) of element n and 1.5 is
the background matrix correction in factor due to lithogenic effects.
Value of Igeo indicates the level of contamination. Based
on the Igeo data/Muller’s geo-accumulation indexes and
their respective classes, the contamination level with
respect to each metal at various locations is ranked with\0
(class: 0) uncontaminated, 0–1 (class: 1) uncontaminated to
moderately contaminated, 1–2 (class: 2) moderately contaminated and sequentially [5 (class: 6) indicates extremely contaminated.
Tomlinson et al. (1980) had utilized a method based on
PLI to evaluate the degree of pollution by metals. PLI
provides a comparative means to assess the quality of a site
or estuarine. PLI was calculated using the following
equation:
CF ¼ Cmetal = Cbackground
p
PLI ¼n ðCF1  CF2  CF3  . . . CFn Þ;

ð3Þ
ð4Þ

where CF = contamination factor, Cmetal = concentration
of pollutant, Cbackgrounds = background value for the
metal and n is the number of metals. A value of 0 on the
PLI would indicate no pollutants; a value of 1 would
suggest the presence of baseline levels of pollutants,
while values that exceed 1 would indicate a progressive
deterioration of the site and estuary (Tomlinson et al.
1980). These values can be obtained as Concentration
Factor (CF). Concentration Factor is the quotient obtained
by dividing the concentration of each metal. While
computing the CF of sediments of the study area, world
average concentrations of these elements reported for
Shale (Turekian and Wedepohl 1961) were taken as the
background values.
Statistical analysis
Pearson Correlation analysis is a bivariate method commonly used to measure and establish the relationship
between two variables. It is generally used to measure the
degree of dependency of one variable to the other (Kumar
et al. 2013a, b). This statistical tool was applied to the
results of heavy metals. Factor Analysis was done using
IBM SPSS statistics software (Version 19.0.1). Varimax
Table 1 Average particle size
and organic carbon content (%)
of the surface sediments

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rotation with Kaiser Normalization scheme was used for
extraction of factors to explain the observed relationship
among the variables. R-mode factor analysis was used to
identify the major factors controlling the geochemistry of
heavy metals in the surface sediments of the Gulf of Kachchh. If the Eigen value is greater than 1, it reflects a
significant contribution of the corresponding factor.

Results and discussion
Grain-size distribution and organic carbon
in the surface sediments
Shore material and the load brought by the Indus River are
the major sources of sediment into the Gulf of Kachchh
(Zingde 1999). The damming of the Indus River has significantly lowered the amount of sediment delivered to the
Arabian Sea (Giosan et al. 2005, 2006). The decrease in the
supply of sediment of the Indus River has resulted in a
change in the Indus delta. The Gulf of Kachchh still
receives sediments through the tidal erosion of the abandoned delta. The material eroded from this region can be
brought to the Gulf of Kachchh by both tidal and longshore currents. The import of fine-grained sediments into
high tidal areas is aided by tidal processes, particularly by
settling lag effects (Bartholdy 2000). A major portion of all
sediment samples contained sand in the range of
77.20–97.93 %. It was also observed that the silt content
ranged from 0.60 to 21.45 % and the clay content ranged
from 0.1 to 2.5 % (Table 1).
Major element geochemistry
Industrial development and urbanization have resulted in
the intertidal flats in the estuary to be contaminated with a
large concentration of heavy metals. Sediments and residue
from the mangroves are major sinks for metals (Du et al.
2006). The extent of industrial effluents and atmospheric
deposition in the catchment area is important in determining the metal binding in the sediments; it is also
dependent on the degree to which the sediment can bind
and release metals. This is influenced by the physical and
chemical characteristics of the soil and the sediment (Du
Laing et al. 2002).

Types

S1

S2

S3

S4

S5

S6

S7

S8

S9

Sand

77.20

78.50

94.80

95.50

96.40

96.30

97.59

96.36

97.93

Silt

21.45

19.0

4.88

4.17

3.50

3.46

0.60

2.80

1.65

Clay

1.35

2.5

0.32

0.33

0.1

0.24

1.81

0.84

0.42

Organic carbon

3.25

1.78

2.80

2.09

2.18

1.47

2.54

2.92

2.82

Environ Earth Sci

Average content of clay and organic carbon at Jodiya
(S2) were observed at 2.5 and 1.78 %, respectively; while
at Mundra (S1) it was 1.35 and 3.25 %, respectively.
Heavy metal concentration in the sediments of Gulf of
Kachchh has been estimated. The estimated concentration
of heavy metals excedded the Average Shale Value (ASV)
to the mean values of All Composite Locations (ACL)
except for Pb (Table 2).
Chromium (Cr)
The Cr concentration at all the locations crossed the ASV
of 90 mg/kg. The highest mean Cr concentration was
observed at Jodiya (S2) while the lowest was at Mundra
(S1) with a mean values of 255 (ranged 166–362) and
120 mg/kg (ranged 113–123 mg/kg), respectively. Greater
anthropogenic influence (Lo and Fung 1992) and higher
clay content in the sediment lead to a higher accumulation
of Cr at Jodiya. The lowest mean concentration of Cr at
Mundra (S1), may be due to less anthropogenic influence
and comparatively low clay proportion. The mean concentration of ACL was 163 mg/kg (ranged 119–269 mg/
kg).
Copper (Cu)
The highest mean Cu concentration was observed at Old
Bedi Port (S5) with a mean value of 138 mg/kg (ranged
122–153 mg/kg) and the lowest was observed at Mundra
(S1) with a mean value of 44 mg/kg (ranged 37–50 mg/
kg). The mean Cu concentration at Mundra (S1) was less
than the ASV of 45 mg/kg which is almost half of the ACL
value of 86 mg/kg. The plot of heavy metals versus EF
(Fig. 2) indicated the moderate enrichment of Cu at Old
Bedi Port (S5) and Jam-Salaya (S8), and Igeo, computed
also showed Cu in moderate contamination (Fig. 3).
Organic carbon concentration (Ramos et al. 1999; Zhou
et al. 1998) along with the tendency of the sediments of the
mangrove ecosystem to capture the fine suspended solid
and chemical precipitation (Chakraborty et al. 2014) and
existence of old port may lead to higher Cu concentration
at Old Bedi Port. Higher mean Cu concentration in the
surface sediments at Jam-Salaya (S8) may be due inorganic
chemical complex of Tata Group’s Tata Chemical Ltd
(Business Standard 2013, online sources) and existence of
some favorable cusp-shaped geomorphological formation
on the location.
Cadmium (Cd)
The mean Cd concentration exceeded the ASV of
0.30 mg/kg at all the locations except Sachana (S3)
which had a mean value of 0.173 mg/kg. The highest

mean Cd concentration (23 mg/kg) was observed at JamSalaya (S8). Further, higher mean Cd concentration
(18 mg/kg) was observed at Chodeshwar (S9). Discharge
of industrial and agricultural waste was found to be
responsible for Cd contamination in Sikka and Vadinar,
Gulf of Kachchh (Ghrefat and Yusuf 2006; Chakraborty
et al. 2014). It was observed from Fig. 2, Jam-Salaya
(S8) was moderatly enriched with Cd while Chodeshwar
(S9) was minor, also supported by Igeo plot (Fig. 3). The
reason for higher enrichment of the Cd at Jam-Salaya
(S8) may be similar to that of Cu. Further presence of
higher organic carbon in the sediment also may be the
reason for higher concentration of Cd in the sediments of
both the locations. Man et al. (2004) reported that Cd has
the greatest tendency toward remobilization from the
sediment phase to the more bio-available pore water
phase.
Iron (Fe) and manganese (Mn)
Iron is found as an abundant element in the continental
crust; enrichment of Fe in the form of Fe oxyhydroxides
occurs due to the root aeration of mangrove and tidal
influence (Otero et al. 2009). The mean Fe concentration at
all the locations exceeded the ASV of 46,000 mg/kg except
at Jam-Salaya (S8) and Chodeshwar (S9). The mean Fe
ACL was observed to be 56,563 mg/kg. The mean Mn
concentration of ACL was observed to be 1,020 mg/kg
(ranged 853–1,170 mg/kg) which is higher than the ASV
of 850 mg/kg.
Cobalt (Co)
The mean Co concentration at almost all the locations
exceeded the ASV of 19.01 mg/kg, but it was nearly
equivalent at Mundra (S1). The mean ACL value of Co was
observed at 23 mg/kg (ranged 17–27 mg/kg).
Zinc (Zn)
The highest mean Zn concentration (160 mg/kg) was
observed at Old Bedi Port (S5) with a ranged of
149–171 mg/kg. The mean Zn concentration was reported
lower than that for the ASV of 95 mg/kg at Mundra (S1),
Jodiya (S2), New Bedi Port, Jam-Salaya (S8) and Chodeshwar (S9), while its values exceeded at the remaining
locations. Higher concentration of Zn in the estuarine
sediments has been attributed to anthropogenic activities
viz. industrial tailing and wastes (Donazzolo et al. 1984).
The higher concentration of Zn at various locations did not
show any riverine influence. Further comprehensive
investigations may reveal the exact source of Zn input in
the estuarine system of the current study area.

123

123

113–123

Range

37–50

Range

0.20–0.42

56,910

47,892–64,365

Range

Fe
Mean

Range

10–22

Range

77–93

Range

810–900

Range

14–17

51

44–64

Range

Ni
Mean

Range

61–77

70

12–15

14

880–1,100

1,000

70–98

83

16–34

23

58,932–78,364

69,620

0.07–0.66

0.398

67–73

71

166–362

255

S2

42–88

69

16–21

18

1,050–1,210

1,130

89–114

103

18–26

23

62,516–88,468

73,140

0.10–0.22

0.173

67–75

71

118–151

135

S3

56–72

67

12–23

18

920–1,120

1,040

80–89

86

17–26

22

64,382–88,434

72,970

0.31–0.56

0.408

44–77

62

137–149

141

S4

49–81

66

19–30

25

890–1,260

1,110

149–171

160

21–26

23

72,680–88,680

78,380

0.22–0.66

0.459

120–153

138

128–157

145

S5

** World geochemical background value in average shale (Turekian and Wedepohl 1961)

ASV average shale values, ACL all composite locations

15

Mean

Pb

850

Mean

Mn

86

Mean

Zn

18

Mean

Co

0.331

Mean

Cd

44

Mean

Cu

120

Mean

Cr

S1

73–80

77

29–38

34

810–1,210

1,000

115–136

123

20–29

25

53,766–103,628

82,340

0.21–0.54

0.426

89–119

109

167–192

182

S6

Table 2 Heavy metal concentration in the surface sediment with average shale values (units: mg/kg)

65–72

68

15–18

16

890–1,030

980

98–110

104

20–24

23

66,289–76,840

72,230

0.24–0.66

0.462

59–76

65

120–142

132

S7

69–89

78

21–27

23

980–1,320

1,140

0.46–0.95

0.70

22–28

26

860–1,410

1,140

12–36

23.088

112–144

130

191–212

199

S8

73–80

77

8.7–25

18

890–1,030

980

0.12–0.56

0.29

21–30

25

960–1,020

980

12–22

18.112

69–111

87

142–183

164

S9

52–80

69

13–33

20

853–1,170

1,020

0.3–160

82

17–27

23

953–86,216

56,563

0.15–24

4.8

44–137

86

119–269

163

ACL

50

20

850

95

19.01

46,000

0.30

45

90

ASV**

Environ Earth Sci

Environ Earth Sci

Cu
Zn

Pb
No
enrichment

Mn
Fe
0.0

0.5

1.0

Moderate enrichment

Cd
Minor enrichment

Heavy Metals

Ni

1.5

2.0

2.5

3.0

3.5

4.0

4.5

5.0

Enrichment Factors (EF)

Fig. 2 Enrichment factor (EF) of various metals in surface sediments
of Gulf of Kachchh

Lead (Pb)
The highest mean Pb concentration (34 mg/kg) was
observed at Sikka (S6) with a range of 19–38 mg/kg. The
average concentration of Pb in the sediment of Indian
rivers has been reported at *14 mg g-1 (Dekov et al.
1999). Few locations (viz. Old Bedi Port (S5), Sikka (S6)
and Jam-Salaya(S8)) exceeded the ASV of 20 mg/kg. This
can be explained by these locations being greatly influenced by atmospheric inputs and industrial influences
(Notling and Helder 1991). The mean ACL was observed
equal to ASV.
Nickel (Ni)
The mean Ni concentrations at all the locations exceeded
the ASV of 50 mg/kg and the ACL value of 69 mg/kg
(ranged 52–80 mg/kg).

Correlation analysis
The Pearson correlation matrix reveals that Co and Ni have
a very strong correlation with Fe, while Co has a significant
correlation with Mn. This suggests that these metals may
be adsorbed onto the oxyhydroxides of Fe and Mn. An
insignificant correlation of Cr, Ni and Cd with most of the
metals indicates that external inputs may be operating in
the mangrove sediments. Zinc shows strong positive correlation with Cu and significant correlation with Pb, Fe and
Mn (Table 3). The abnormally high concentration of Zn in

300

Cr

Co

Ni

Cu

Zn

Cd

Pb

Uncontaminated

250

Concentration (mg/Kg)

Fig. 3 Heavy metal
concentrations (average) versus
Igeo plot for surface sediments
of mangrove ecosystem of Gulf
of Kachchh (Mn unit is g/Kg)

Statistical analysis

200
150
100
50
0
-2

-1

0

Mn**

Moderatelycontaminated

Co

There is no much salinity variation in different locations
due to absence of Perennial Rivers in the study area. Hence
there is not a specific variation observed in heavy metals
except Cu and Cd, which is higher in at Narara (S7), Jamsalaya (S8) and Choweswar (S9) in comparison to Jodiya
(S2), Sachana (S3) and New Bedi Port (S4). It may be
attributed due to flocculation and coagulation processes
along with favorable geomorphological formations. High
concentrations of these metals in mangrove sediments
indicate that the mangrove systems trap the metals either in
physical form (as fine material) or in chemical form
(through the precipitation of metals from solution) (Harbison 1986). Association between metal ions and organic
matter takes place with the ligands of organic matter in the
sediment through the functional groups like –NH2, –OH
and –COOH. This generates stable organic metal complexes (Riffaldi et al. 1983), which may explain the high
concentration of heavy metals in the vicinity of the mouths
of the rivers that flow into the study area. Mean value of
heavy metal concentration indicated relatively low contamination of almost all the heavy metals at Mundra (S1)
revealing its relatively pristine environment.

Uncontaminated to moderately contaminated

S1
S2
S3
S4
S5
S6
S7
S8
S9

Cr

1

2

Igeo values

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Environ Earth Sci
Table 3 Pearson correlation
matrixes for heavy metals

Element

* Significant correlation
** Strong to very strong
correlation

Cr

Co

Ni

1.00

Co

0.49

1.00

Ni

0.52*

0.99**

1.00

Cu

0.31

0.55*

0.49

1.00

Zn

-0.02

0.36

0.27

0.86**

0.37

0.34

0.72

0.49

1.00

0.54*

0.49

0.56*

0.70*

0.36

1.00

Fe

0.31

0.96**

0.92**

0.66*

0.55*

0.40

0.67*

1.00

*

*

0.33

0.33

0.66*

0.23

0.60

*

Factor 1
0.752

Factor 2

Communities

0.568

Co

0.929

0.872

Ni

0.928

0.863

Cu

0.796

0.453

0.839

Zn

0.574

0.717

0.844

Cd

0.747

0.345

0.677

Pb

0.609

0.616

0.750

0.811

0.664

Mn


0.742

0.394

0.706

Eigen value

4.739

2.046

52.652
52.652

22.730
75.382


123

0.56

*

0.74

Mn

1.00

0.11

Table 4 Principal and varimax rotated R-mode factor loading matrix

Italics indicate high loading values

Fe

0.41

Two factors with an Eigen value [1 were identified, which
explain about 75.38 % of the total variance (Table 4).
Factor 1 accounts for 52.65 % variance in the dataset and
shows a high loading of almost all elements except Fe. This
factor explains a contribution from industrial activities,
surface runoff and waste disposal. Factor 2 accounts for
22.73 % variance in the dataset and shows a strong loading
of Zn, Pb and Fe, which may be a good indicator of natural
and marine in situ processes like reduction of Fe by mangrove roots along with some anthropogenic contribution.
Association of Cu, Cd, Pb and Zn with each other suggests
anthropogenic influence (Bloemen et al. 1995; Davies
1997). These metals often associate in urban systems, and

% of variance
% of cumulative variance

Pb

Pb

Factor analysis

Fe

*

Cd

Cd

Mn

Cr

Zn

Cr

the offshore sediment samples is related to anthropogenic
activities such as industrial tailing and wastes (Donazzolo
et al. 1984). The correlation of Zn with Fe (r = 0.55), Mn
(r = 0.59) and Pb (r = 0.70) clearly indicates that the high
levels of these elements are related to the presence of
diffused anthropogenic activities (viz. municipal discharge,
city runoff and vehicular emission).

Variables

Cu

0.59

1.00

their relationship in the mangrove ecosystem reflects the
influence of rapid urbanization and industrialization.
Enrichment factor (EF)
Enrichment Factor is a good tool to differentiate the sources
of heavy metals in the environment such as anthropogenic
and natural inputs (Morillo et al. 2004; Vald’es et al. 2005).
By applying this statistical tool, the concentrations of the
metals were normalized with Al, a predominant element
found in the form of aluminasilicates in the marine sediments. The mean EF values of the metals were studied with
respect to crust average background concentration (Turekian
and Wedepohl 1961). The highest EF value of Cr (3.49) was
found in the sediments of Jodiya (S2) near the mouth of Und
River which received a high volume of effluents from the
industries and sewage discharges in the neighborhood. It is
also supported by the presence of high clay content in the
surface sediments (Table 1).
Sediments in the vicinity of the confluence of the rivers
Ghi Nadi (main influence), Jambudi Nadi and Api Nadi,
i.e. Jam-Salaya (S8), contain a higher value of organic
carbon in the surface sediment and show a high degree of
metal contamination. The EF values were 3.87 for Cd, 3.78
for Cu and 1.49 for Mn. Cd had the highest EF value
amongst the nine metals at Jam- Salaya (S8). The highest
EF value of Co, Cu, Pb and Fe was reported at Sikka (S6)
which may be due to waste water discharge, the dismantling of old ships and fall out deposition. The EF values
were greater than 3 (3.49 for Cr, 3.87 for Cd and 3.78 for
Cu) which indicate moderate contamination at Jodiya (S2)
and Jam- Salaya (S8). The lowest value of Cr, Co, Ni, Cu,
Mn and Fe were reported at Mundra (Fig. 2). The result
indicates moderate enrichment of Cr, Cd and Cu at the
various locations.
Index of geo-accumulation (Igeo)
Muller’s (1979) expression was applied to calculate the Igeo
values for the metals studied. Our results show that

0.78
163.76

S8

S9

** World geochemical background value (mg/kg) in average shale (Turekian and Wedepohl 1961)

199.05

S6
S7

* ASV average shale values

1.08
1.34

1.15
980

1,140
0.02

0.02
980

1,140
1.15

0.91
18.11

23.09
2.32

0.98
0.29

0.70
1.37

0.92
87.15

129.96
3.40

1.45
65.10

152.84
1.57

1.53
76.73

78.39
1.36

1.33
25.24

25.76

182.03
132.09

S5

1.82

144.91

S4

2.21

1.30
1.57

1.24
1.31

1.18
1.15
1,000
980

1,110
1.70

1.79
1.57
82,340
72,230

78,380
1.26

1.70
0.82
33.92
16.45

25.16
1.53

1.42
1.54
0.43
0.46

0.46
1.68

1.30
1.09
123.20
103.62

159.95
3.06

1.98
1.45
89.28
65.35

137.88
1.32

1.54
1.36
77.06
68.04

66.23
1.20

1.34
1.19
25.39
22.54

22.80

141.36

S3

2.02
1.47

135.47

S2

1.61

1.19

1.56
1.22
1,040
1.59
72,970
0.88
17.60
1.36
0.41
0.90
85.63
1.38
62.10
1.34
66.76
1.17
22.27

1.02
254.83

S1

1.57

1.33
1,130
1.59
73,140
0.90
17.97
0.58
0.17
1.08
102.77
1.58
71.08
1.38
68.77
1.20
22.74

90

119.73

ASV*

1.51

1.18

1.00
851

1,000
1.51
69,620
0.70
13.94
1.33
0.40
0.88
83.45
1.57
70.87
1.39
69.68
1.20

1.24
56,910

46,000

0.77
15.31

20

1.10
0.33

0.3

0.91
85.98

95

0.98
43.93

45

1.02
51.14

50

0.92
17.50

19

1.33

22.88

850

B
A
B
A
B
A
B
A
B
A
B
A
B
A
B
A
B

2.83

PLI
Mn
Fe
Pb
Cd
Zn
Cu

A

Heavy metal pollution in the mangrove sediments is caused
by both natural as well as anthropogenic factors. The
Pichavaram mangrove was reported as being relatively
unpolluted and only a minor anthropogenic effect was
observed which acts as a sink for heavy metals (Ramanathan et al. 1999). The Ulhas estuary has been reported as a
moderately polluted ecosystem due to the impact of
industrial and domestic waste inputs (Fernandes and Nayak
2012). The metal pollution in the mangrove sediment in the
Gulf of Kachchh is mainly due to the anthropogenic factors
in the form of drained water of seasonal rivers and industrial wastes. The effluents from the metallurgy-based factories directly or indirectly cause high concentration of
heavy metals in the mangrove sediments. The metal concentration in the surface sediments is higher than the ASV
at most of the sampling locations (Table 2). This shows

Ni

Comparative discussion

Co

The PLI values of the analyzed samples ranged from 0.78
to 1.57 which confirmed that the sediments of the study
area are progressively deteriorating (Table 5). A higher
value of PLI was reported at Narara (S7) contributed by Cd
and Fe in the sediments, whereas the presence of Fe, Cd
and Cr contributed to the higher value of PLI at New Bedi
Port (S4). The PLI provided a clear view of the deterioration of the estuarine quality in the mangrove ecosystem
of area studied. Higher concentration of heavy metals may
be caused by external distinct anthropogenic sources like
agricultural runoff, industrial waste water discharge and
atmospheric dry deposition (Fernandes and Nayak 2012). It
also provides valuable information to the policy makers on
the pollution levels in the study area which is part of a
National Park.

Cr

Pollution Load Index (PLI)

Table 5 Average concentrations (A), concentration factors (B) and Pollution Load Index (PLI) of heavy metals in surface sediments

sediments near the mouths of all the rivers were more
polluted than the other locations for heavy metals. The Igeo
index, when computed for Gulf of Kachchh, shows that few
metals (viz. Cr, Cu and Cd) fall within Class 1 and Class 2
of Muller’s grade scale (Fig. 3). Cu was ranked moderate
(Igeo, class = 2) for sediments at Old Bedi Port (S5) and
Jam-Salaya (S8). Cd at Jam-Salaya (S8) was also ranked
moderate (Igeo, class = 2) for sediments. This might indicate that the Gulf of Kachchh has a higher accumulation of
Cu and Cd metals which apparently come from the
catchment area. Influence of anthropogenic activities can
be assessed by means of the geoaccumulation index (Igeo)
(Muller 1979) in the tropical estuarine system. High
accumulation of Cu at Old Bedi Port (S5) and Jam-Salaya
(S8) and Cd at at Jam-Salaya (S8) shows anthropogenic
influences.

1.27

Environ Earth Sci

123

Environ Earth Sci
Table 6 Comparative representation of heavy metal concentration (mg/kg) of sediments of the Gulf of Kachchh and other estuarine sediments
Locations

Fe

Mn

Pichavaram mangrove

32,482

701

Godavari estuary

5.7 (%)

1,070

Krishna estuary

10 (%)

Cu

Cd

Co

Cr

Ni

Pb

32

6.96

141.2

62

11.2

89

Ramanathan et al. (1999)

82

47

11

54

Ramesh et al. (1990)

6,978

69

174

149

4

Ulhas Estuary

9.02 (%)

2,077

173

Gulf of Kachchh mangrove

733,114

1,025

84

References

1,482

Ramesh and Subramanian (1988)

79

239

190

82

180

Fernandes and Nayak (2012)

0.41

23

163

69

20

107

Present study

that the sediments are contaminated with heavy metals in
the study area. The mean values of Mn, Cu, Cd, Cr, Ni, Pb
and Zn were observed as 701, 32, 6.96 141.2, 62, 11.2 and
89 mg/kg, respectively, in the Pichavaram mangrove (Ramanathan et al. 1999) (Table 6). In another study done by
Fernandes and Nayak (2012) at the Ulhas Estuary, the
mean values of Mn, Cu, Co, Cr, Ni, Pb and Zn were 2,077,
173, 79, 239, 190, 82 and 180 mg/kg, respectively.
Our results, with mean concentrations of Mn (1,025), Cu
(84), Cd (0.41) Co (23), Cr (163), Ni (69), Pb (20) and Zn
(107) (mg/kg), respectively, show a higher concentration of
all metals than at Pichavaram mangrove and slightly less
than that at the Ulhas estuary. Zinc and Pb concentration at
the Godavari estuary were lesser than the current study.
The concentration of Pb and Cu was higher in our study
area than at the Krishna estuary, while the concentration of
other metals like Mn, Cu, Ni and Zn was comparatively
higher. The comparative study indicates that the study area
is moderately polluted with heavy metals.

Conclusions
The statistical analysis and comparative study of the sediments show that the study area was minor to moderately
contaminated with heavy metals. Clay and organic carbon
content are crucial in the accumulation of heavy metals in
the sediments. Statistical analysis reveals a very strong
correlation of Co and Ni with Fe and a significant correlation of Co with Mn. This indicates the adsorbing character of metals onto the oxyhydroxides of Fe and Mn.
Further, a good correlation of Mn, Fe and Pb with Zn
indicates the presence of diffused anthropogenic activities.
The EF values of various heavy metals show moderate
enrichment of Cr, Cd and Cu at various locations. However, Igeo values indicate that sediments in the vicinity of
the mouths of all the rivers were more polluted than those
in the other locations with heavy metals. Moderate contamination was observed for the Cu and Cd with the help of
Igeo computed for all metals. PLI values were observed to
be greater than one in most of the locations, indicating
progressively deteriorating estuarine environment. All
statistical analyses reveal anthropogenic contribution to the

123

Zn

pollution load of heavy metals in Gulf of Kachchh. The
findings of the study would enable the formulation of more
effective watershed and estuary management guidelines
and thus help regulate the metal discharges into the estuary.
Acknowledgments This research was supported by the UGC-CSIR,
GOI for providing Junior Research Fellowship (JRF). The authors are
thankful to the Forest Department, Gujarat, for granting permission to
carry out current research work in the reserved forest area. Authors
are also thankful to School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal
Nehru University, for providing the lab facilities for the analysis.
Thanks are also due to the valued reviewers for making the manuscript more effective with the help of their appropriate comments and
suggestions.

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