Heavy metals distribution in the sediments of Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers
Faculty of Sciences. Chemistry
Environmental geology. - Berlin
, p. 93-103
University of Antwerp
Bed sediments were collected from the entire region of the Ganges basin and some parts of the Brahmaputra. In addition, selected stations were sampled for suspended sediments as well. The samples were analysed for a number of heavy metals (Fe, Mn, Ni, Cr, Cu, and Zn) by the thin-film energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence technique. There are pronounced temporal and spatial variations in the heavy metals distributions. Suspended sediments are 510 times richer than the bed sediments. None of the tributaries contribute significant heavy metal load, but around urban areas in Yamuna (tributary of Ganges), very high levels due to the distribution from the drainage network are observed. Compared to the Brahmaputra, the distribution and fractionation of heavy metals in the Ganges sediments are more erratic and highly variable. All the metals considered show high correlation among themselves. Given the high flux of suspended sediments from the Himalayan rivers (nearly 20% of the global flux), the worldwide budget for heavy metal transport may need to be suitably revised.