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Heavy Metal Toxicity in Wastewater Irrigated Peri-Urban Agricultural Areas of Lahore, Pakistan; a Case Study

Mujtaba Baqar, Nadia Jamil, Naveed Ahsan, Kiran Khanum, Abdul Qadir, Mariyam Zameer, Anam Khalid


Background: The main objective of the research endeavor was to highlight the impacts of heavy metals in waste water irrigation on soil, ground water and leafy vegetables (Indian mustard, Spinach and Fodder) in the catchment of Charrar Drain, Lahore.

Materials and methods: The wastewater, groundwater, soil and vegetable samples were collected from seven sampling areas with an average distance of 2.5 km among the sampling sites in catchment area of Charrar Drain.

Results: The Concentration of Cd and Cr in drain water at all sampling sites, except at W1(Cd) and W5(Pb) were exceeding the limit value (0.1 mg/l) and (1.0 mg/l) respectively, whereas, Pb concentrations were higher than limit value (0.5 mg/l) in drain water at all sampling sites. The heavy metals concentrations in the ground water of all the sampling sites along the Charrar Drain were found within the permissible limits of NEQS (0.05 mg/l for both Cr and Pb). However, the Cd concentrations were exceeding the limit value (0.01mg/l). The Pb and Cr concentrations have shown an increasing trend towards downstream. In soil samples, Cd, Cr and Pb levels ranged from 0.43 to 2.45 mg/l, 0.75 to 1.89 mg/l and 0.86 to 2.35 mg/l, respectively. The leafy vegetables grown around Charrar Drain, irrigated with its wastewater have shown variation in heavy metals concentrations in Indian mustard; spinach and fodder.

Conclusion: The current study highlighted the heavy metals bioaccumulation issue due to continuous input of heavy metals from wastewater irrigation that may exceed the threshold limits in near future.

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