Volume No. 6 Issue No.: 3 Page No.: 432-438 Jan-Mar 2012

 

ACCUMULATION OF HEAVY METALS IN WASTEWATER IRRIGATED CROPS IN MADURAI, INDIA

 

S. Chandran*, V. Niranjana1 and Bennyjoseph2

1. Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai (INDIA)
2. Karunya University, Coimbatore (INDIA)

 

Received on : November 25, 2011

 

ABSTRACT

 

Increasing scarcity of freshwater resources is driving many countries in the arid and semi-arid regions to use marginal quality water for agriculture and related activities. While the nutrients contained in the wastewater is considered as beneficial to agriculture, the contaminants present in the wastewater pose health risks directly to agricultural workers and indirectly to consumers of the wastewater grown produce (fodder crops, greens and vegetables), as the long term application of the wastewater may result in the accumulation of toxic compounds such as heavy metals in soil and plants. In this way the heavy metals enter the food chain of animals and human beings, which could cause health hazards. Heavy metal accumulation in plants depends upon plant species. The efficiency of different plants in absorbing metals is evaluated by either plant uptake or soil-to-plant transfer factors of the metals. This emphasizes the need for understanding the heavy metal uptake by plants in wastewater irrigation. The objective of this paper is to analyze the heavy metal uptake in wastewater irrigated plants such as Guinea grass (Panicum maximum), Ponnankanni keerai (Alternanthera sessilis) and Solanum melongena (Solanum melongena) in Avaniapuram Sewage Farm, Madurai, Southern part of India, where sewage irrigation is practiced since 1924. The results revealed a higher cadmium accumulation in all the three plants, which may be due to the presence of heavy metals in the source itself. A marginal accumulation of chromium and lead was found in the three species. Therefore the study recommends a pre- treatment of wastewater before land application, to avoid entrance of metals into the food chain.

 

Keywords : Heavy metal accumulation, Wastewater irrigation, Wastewater reuse, Wastewater Agriculture, Fresh water

 

 

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