Estimation of heavy metals, lead and nickel in water samples of some water bodies of industrial Town Faridabad

Arya, Shveta

Faridabad is an industrial hub and Industries release their toxic effluents in the nearby water bodies. To find out the impact of industrial effluents in water, an attempt was made to analyse the heavy metals, lead and nickel in water samples at different sites ranging from drains to their confluence with Buriah Nullah and finally river Yamuna. Water samples were also collected from fish ponds at villages near Faridabad. Heavy metals were estimated in water samples by Atomic Absorbtion Spectroscopy. Lead is a highly poisonous element which has serious adverse impacts on the environment as well as human beings. Heavy metal nickel is essential in small quantities but an uptake of too large quantities of nickel results in higher chances of development of various types of cancer and allergic reactions.  Higher concentration of Pb and Ni in water samples beyond their permissible limit is a potent danger for aquatic life and human health as these heavy metals are highly persistant and biomagnify in the food chain.

Keywords:     Lead (Pb) | Nickel (Ni) | Biomagnify | River Yamuna


Water is not only the most important essential constituent of all animals, plants and other organisms but also pivotal for the survivability of mankind in the biosphere (Muthulakshmi, L. et al., 2009). Safe and good quality drinking water is the basis for good human health (Balakrishnan A. et al., 2014). Water provides some elements, but when polluted it may prove dangerous to human health and cause diseases such as various cancers, adverse reproductive outcomes, cardiovascular diseases and neurological disorders (Karavoltsos S. et al., 2008). There are many cases identified with the harmful effects of mercury, lead and arsenic on human health, in several parts of the world. Those incidents have prompted numerous investigations into the metabolism and toxic effects of these three elements (Matta, 2014; Matta et al., 2015a; Matta & Gjyli, 2016). Several factors such as climate, characteristics of soil, circulation of ground water through rock types, topography of the area, human activities on the ground etc. poses several effects on the quality of water (Annapoorani A. et al., 2012). Also it will adversely affect the living organism while entering into the food chain (Matta et al., 2015b; Matta et al., 2016).

Faridabad industrial complex occupies a significantly important place on the industrial map of India. Faridabad is the industrial hub being 9th biggest industrial town in India. It has various types of industries manufacturing products ranging from hypodermic syringes to huge mechanized loaders, tractors, motorcycles, air conditioners, tyres etc. A large number of textiles, dyeing and printing units have also come up in this industrial complex during last few years which release toxic effluents including heavy metals, lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), nickel (Ni), mercury (Hg) etc.  which are blatantly  discharged into water bodies. Faridabad also has lots of lead smelting plants, lead-acid battery manufacturing units which release lot of lead in its effluents. Lead is a highly poisonous element which has serious adverse impacts on the environment as well as human beings. Lead (Pb) is one of the most toxic of heavy metals and its compounds are included in the grey list of international conventions (Taylor et al.,  1985). Lead that is emitted into the atmosphere can be inhaled, or it can be ingested after it settles out of the air. It is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and is believed to have adverse effects on the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, kidneys, and the immune system (Bergeson, Lynn L., 2008).

Nickel is essential in small quantities, but when the uptake is too high it can be a danger to human health. The primary sources of nickel emissions into the ambient air are the combustion of coal and oil for heat or power generation, nickel mining, steel manufacture, and miscellaneous sources, such as cement manufacturing. It is also used extensively in electroplating as nickel sulphate and nickel hydroxide is used in nickel–cadmium batteries (Nanda and Behera, 1996). Electroplating units are also established in Faridabad in large numbers which result in nickel discharge into water.

Humans may be exposed to nickel by breathing air, drinking water, eating food or smoking cigarettes. Nickel uptake will boost when people eat large quantities of vegetables from soils irrigated with polluted water. Plants are known to accumulate nickel and as a result the nickel uptake from vegetables will be eminent. An uptake of too large quantities of nickel results in higher chances of development of lung cancer, nose cancer, larynx cancer and prostate cancer, sickness and dizziness after exposure to nickel gas, lung embolism, respiratory failure, birth defects, asthma and chronic bronchitis , allergic reactions such as skin rashes, mainly from jewellery, heart disorders. Nickel fumes are respiratory irritants and may cause pneumonitis.

An attempt is made in the present research to determine the concentration of heavy metals lead and nickel in water samples collected from drains of Faridabad carrying industrial effluents and finally merging in the holy river Yamuna.