Heavy metals contaminating India’s rivers

News: A study conducted by Central Water Commission (CWC) from May 2014 to April 2018 revealed that India’s major river systems are contaminated with heavy metals.


Key takeaways:

  • Samples from only 35% of water quality stations were safe while rest were polluted with heavy metals, exceeding safe limits set by the Bureau of Indian Standards.
  •  Iron was the most common contaminant found in rivers. Other major contaminants found in the samples were lead, nickel, chromium, cadmium and copper.
  •  Main sources of heavy metal pollution: agriculture, mining, milling, plating and surface finishing industries that discharge a variety of toxic metals.
  •  Impact: Long term exposure may result in slowly progressing physical, muscular, and neurological degenerative processes.

Note: Heavy metal refers to any metal and metalloid element that has a relatively high density ranging from 3.5 to 7 g/cm3. Example: Arsenic, copper, mercury, lead, etc.

Additional Information:

Heavy MetalDisease
ArsenicBlack foot
NitrateBlue Baby syndrome (Methaemoglobinemia)

Central water commission (CWC)

  • It is a premier Technical Organization of India in the field of Water Resources
  •  It functions as an attached office of the Ministry of Jal Shakti, Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. It was founded in 1945 and is headquartered in New Delhi.
  • It is mandated with the initiation and coordination of schemes introduced by the Ministry of Jal Shakti.