Acta Limnologica Brasiliensia
Acta Limnologica Brasiliensia
Original Article

Environmental monitoring of sediment quality and trace metal status in a tropical perennial river in South India: an exploration using multivariate analysis

Monitoramento ambiental da qualidade dos sedimentos e do status dos vestígios de metais em um rio tropical perene no sul da Índia: uma exploração usando análise multivariada

Dani Benchamin; Sreejai Raghavan; Arya Madhu Sajidevi

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Aim: The Kallada River is exposed to several kinds of pollution from domestic, civic, recreational, and agricultural activities and human settlements. The objectives of the study were to assess sediment quality, especially the trace metal concentration and to compare with the previous reports on the sources of pollutants in the Kallada River.

Methods: A total of 12 sediment variables including the following metals: iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), chromium (Cr), and zinc (Zn) were analyzed. Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (AAS) was used to detect trace metal concentration in the sediment samples. Statistical tools such as Pearson’s correlation, Principal component analysis (PCA), and Cluster analysis (CA) were employed to analyze the data and source of pollutants.

Results: This investigation indicated that Fe was the most accumulated element in the sediments, and the midstream (K6 and K10) and downstream sites (K11 to K15) showed a much higher concentration level than the upstream sites. The concentrations of trace metals in sediment samples followed the order Fe> Mn> Cu>Zn.

Conclusions: The present study concluded that major sources of pollutants were sewage and civic effluents and agricultural discharges. These may cause a severe threat to the Kallada River and health risk to the local populations, which rely on the river, primarily for drinking purposes. Hence, appropriate conservation policies to reduce pollution are therefore essential.


sediment quality, trace metal, Kallada river, anthropogenic activities, Ashtamudi estuary


Objetivo: O Rio Kallada está exposto a vários tipos de poluição decorrentes de atividades domésticas, cívicas, recreativas, agrícolas e assentamentos humanos. Os objetivos do estudo foram avaliar a qualidade do sedimento, especialmente a concentração de metais traços, e comparar com relatórios anteriores sobre as fontes de poluentes no Rio Kallada, India.

Métodos: Um total de 12 descritores de sedimento, incluindo os seguintes metais: ferro (Fe), manganês (Mn), cromo (Cr) e zinco (Zn), foram analisados. Um espectrofotômetro de absorção atômica foi usado para detectar a concentração de metais traços nas amostras de sedimento. Correlação de Pearson, análise de componentes principais (PCA) e análise de agrupamento (CA) foram usadas para analisar os dados e fontes de poluentes.

Resultados: Esta pesquisa indicou que o Fe foi o elemento mais acumulado nos sedimentos, e os locais de meio do rio (K6 e K10) e jusante (K11 a K15) mostraram um nível de concentração muito mais alto do que os locais a montante. As concentrações de metais traços nas amostras de sedimento seguiram a ordem Fe > Mn > Cu > Zn.

Conclusões: O presente estudo concluiu que as principais fontes de poluentes foram esgotos, efluentes domésticos e descargas agrícolas. Estes podem representar uma ameaça severa ao Rio Kallada e riscos à saúde das populações locais, que dependem principalmente do rio para fins de consumo de água. Portanto, políticas de conservação apropriadas para reduzir a poluição são essenciais.


qualidade do sedimento, metais traço, rio Kallada, atividades antropogênicas, estuário Ashtamudi


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