Assessment of heavy metal pollution in Lyari river and adjoining coastal areas of Karachi

Paper Details

Research Paper 01/02/2015
Views (207) Download (12)

Assessment of heavy metal pollution in Lyari river and adjoining coastal areas of Karachi

Seema Jilani
J. Bio. Env. Sci.6( 2), 208-214, February 2015.
Certificate: JBES 2015 [Generate Certificate]


The study objective was to determine the level and the distribution pattern of heavy metals in the coastal waters receiving a continuous discharge of untreated domestic and industrial effluent through Lyari river. In this research, the heavy metals in the surface water samples collected from Lyari river and adjoining coastal areas of Karachi namely; Fish Harbour, Netty Jetty, West Wharf, Naval Dockyard and Sandspit were analyzed using the atomic absorption spectrophotometer. The results of the analysis indicate that the mean concentrations of all metals (Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb & Zn) except for Cr, in Lyari river and Karachi fish harbor were significantly higher than the standard values. However, metal concentration decreased gradually as the distance from the discharged point increased and at the Sandspit point where no mixing of wastewater, the concentration was within safe limits. Moreover, the level of heavy metal concentration in the water samples were in following descending order Zn>Mn>Fe>Cu>Ni>Pb. Compare to other metal element, the Zn level was notably high and its main source of pollution could be the domestic and industrial waste as well as shipping activity. The study findings therefore suggest to incorporate quick remedial measures in order to combat pollution and to achieve socioeconomic sustainability in marine coastal environments.


Akhter W, Ali I, Zaidi SS, Jilani S. 1997. The State of Pollution Levels of Karachi Harbor and Adjoining Coastal Waters. Journal Water, Air and Soil Pollution 94(1-2), 98-107.

Ali I, Jilani S. 1995. Study of Contamination in the Coastal Waters of Karachi. The Arabian Sea. Living Marine Resources and the Environment, Mary-Frances Thompson & Nasima M. Tirmizi (Eds).Vanguard Book Publisher, American Institute of Biological Sciences, 653-658.

Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC & ARMCANZ). 2000. Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Water Quality. Volume 1.The Guidelines, Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council and Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand.

American Public Health Association (APHA). 1998. Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater. 20th ed.Washington DC, USA.

Baig MAA, Mohammad SN, Yousuf Zai AHK. 1992. Heavy metals pollutions in the coastal environment of Karachi. Pakistan Journal of Marine Science, 1, 2, 117- 126.

Baig MAA, Mohammad SN, Yousuf Zai AHK. 1975. Industrial Effluents, their Nature and Disposal in Karachi region. Part 1: Survey of the Pollution Lyari River. Proc. Pakistan Academy of Science, 12, 125- 130.

Brugmann Lutz. 1988. Some peculiarities of the trace metal distribution in Baltic water and sediments. Marine chemistry 123, 425- 440.

Danulat E, Muniz P, García-Alonso J, Yannicelli B. 2002. First Assessment of the Highly Contaminated Harbour of Montevideo, Uruguay. Marine Pollution Bulletin 44, 554- 565.

DE Wolf     H, Van Den Broeck H, Qadah D, Backeljau T, and Blust R. 2005. Temporal trends in soft tissue metal levels in the periwinkle Littorina littorea along the Scheldt estuary, The Netherlands. Marine Pollution Bulletin 50, 463- 484.

Foods and Agriculture (FAO). 1975. Manual method of aquatic environment research- Patrt.1. Method for detection, measurement and monitoring of water pollution.

Harper DJ. 1991. The distribution of dissolved Cadmium, lead and copper in the Bristol Channel and the outer Severn estuary. Marine Chemistry 33, 131- 143.

Hussain Z, Chaudhry RM, Zuberi FA, Sharif Q. 1996. Contaminants and the soil environment in Pakistan. Contaminants and soil environment in the Australasia-Pacific Region Dordrect, 33, 1507- 151.

JICA. 2007. Study on water supply and sewerage system in Karachi.

Kennish MJ. 1997. Practical Handbook of Estuarine and Marine Pollution. CRC Press, Marine Science Series, USA.

Khan AA. 1995. Monsoon changes and paleoprod ctivity in Northwestern Arabian Sea sediments. In: Proceedings of the Arabian Sea, Living Marine Resources and the Environment. M. F. Thompson & N. M. Tirmizi (Eds.), Vanguard Books, American Institute of Biological Sciences, Washington D.C.

Luger M, Brown C. 1999. The impact of treated sewage effluent on urban rivers. An Ecological, Social and Economic Perspective.

Mashiatullah A, Qureshi RM, Ahmad N, Khalid F, Javed T. 2009. Physico chemical and biological water quality of Karachi coastal water. The Nucleus 46 (1-2), 53- 59.

Moss A. and Constanza S. 2007. Levels of heavy metals in the sediments of Queensland rivers, estuaries and coastal waters. Environment Technical Report no. 20, ISSN 1037-4671.

Naturvårdsverketa, 2001. Metaller i sjöar och vattendrag,

Nergis Y,Sharif M, Farooq MA, Hussain A, Butt JA. 2012. Impact of industrial and sewage effluents on Karachi coastal water and sediment quality. Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research. 11(10), 1443- 1454.

Patel BV, Patel BS, and Bccani MC. 1985. Heavy metal in the Bombay harbour area. Marine Pollution Bulletin 16(1), 22- 28.

Qadri M, Nergis Y, Mughal NA, Sharif M, Farooq MA. 2011. impact of marine pollution at Karachi coast in perspective of Lyari River. American Eurasian Journal of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences 10(5), 737- 743.

Quraishee GS. 1985. Influence of the Indus River on the marine environment. Proceeding of International Conference on the Management of the Environment. Pakistan Academy of Science, Islamabad, 111- 112.

Qureshi RM, Sajjad MI, Mashiatullah A, Waqar F, Jan S, Akram M, Khan SH, and SA Siddiqui SA. 1997. Isotopic investigations of pollution transport in shallow marine environments of the Karachi Coast, Pakistan. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Isotope Techniques in the Study of Past and Current Environmental Changes in the Hydrosphere and the Atmosphere, 14-18 April, 1997, Vienna, Austria, pp. 353–365.

Rabalais NN, Nixon SW. 2002. Preface: Nutrient Over Enrichment of the Coastal Zone. Estuaries 25, 4B, 639.

Saleem M, Kazi GH. 1998. Concentration and Distribution of Heavy Metals (Lead, Cadmium, Copper, Nickel and Zinc) in Karachi Shore and Off-shore Sediments. Pakistan Journal of Marine Sciences 7, 71- 779.

Saleem M, Khan MA. 1999. Heavy metal distribution in the surface sediment of Gwadar East Bay (North West Arabian). Pakistan Journal of Marine Sciences 8(2), 99- 105.

Tyrrel SF. 1999. The Microbiological Quality of Water Used for Irrigation. Irrigation News, 27, 39- 42.

Ven C, Kao CM, Chen CF, Dong CD. 2007. Distribution and accumulation of heavy metals in sediments of caohsiung harbor, Taiwan, Chemosphere, 66, 1431- 1440.

Wcislo  E,  Loven  D,Kucharski  R,  Szdzuj  J. 2008. Human health risk assessment, case study: An abandoned metal smelter site in Poland, Chemosphere, 96, 223- 230.

World Health Organization (WHO). 2003. Looking back: looking ahead: Five Decades of Challenges and Achievements in Environmental Sanitation.

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). 2002. Study of heavy metal pollution level and impact on the fauna and flora of the Karachi and Gwadar coast. Final Project Report, No. 50022801.

Zingde MD, Mandolia AV, Rockade MA. 1987. Flushing characteristics and pollution assessment of Perna river estuary. Indian Journal of Marine Sciences 16, 94-98.