Assessment of Environmental Hazard and Heavy Metal Contamination in Dhaleshwari River Sediment: A Toxicity based Study on Pollution

Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Department of Civil Engineering, University of Asia Pacific, Dhaka 1205, Bangladesh

2 Department of Soil, Water and Environment, Dhaka University, Dhaka 1000, Bangladesh

3 Department of Environmental Science and Management, North South University, Dhaka 1229, Bangladesh



Developing nations, such as Bangladesh, face an enormous crisis in maintaining natural sustainability due to heavy metal contamination by the peripheral rivers. Frequent heavy metals discharged from tanneries, dyeing, and potential anthropogenic activities in Savar city pollute the Dhaleshwari river, which is an important river of the capital city, Dhaka. The present study aimed to assess the heavy metals contamination in the Dhaleshwari river sediment and evaluate the subsequent ecological risk indices emerging from the deposits. The contamination levels of heavy metals such as lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), and nickel (Ni) were analyzed in the Dhaleshwari River sediment. Various environmental indices, such as Potential Enrichment Risk (PER), Geo-accumulation Index (Igeo), Enrichment factor (EF), Toxic unit analysis (TUs), etc., were observed in various compartments. The concentration of heavy metals ranged as follows: Lead (Pb), 297.3-414.6 mg/L; Cadmium (Cd), 1.5-4.4 mg/L; chromium (Cr), 97.9 -282.4 mg/L; Nickle (Ni), 85.1-264.5 mg/L; Iron (Fe), 11800-14375 mg/L. The metal concentrations were higher than the threshold effect level (TEL) and probable effect level (PEL) standards. Based on the TUs, the probability of toxicity is about 76% (TU > 2.3) at the Dhaleshwari river. Comparative evaluation of different environmental indices between present and past studies indicated progressive deterioration of sediments by heavy metals. Linear correlations of heavy metals in sediment samples demonstrated toxic accumulation of heavy metals in the surrounding ecosystem. The study outcomes emphasize the necessity of systematic investigation in the Dhaleshwari river and warranting effective prioritization to ensure river health over industrial wastewater discharge.


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