Discussion and evaluation of water quality in river systems of West Bengal, India: An assessment of physicochemical and biological parameters as markers of water quality

Paper Details

Review Paper 06/05/2024
Views (432) Download (79)

Discussion and evaluation of water quality in river systems of West Bengal, India: An assessment of physicochemical and biological parameters as markers of water quality

Sagarika Mukherjee, Manas Paramanik
J. Bio. Env. Sci.24( 5), 8-23, May 2024.
Certificate: JBES 2024 [Generate Certificate]


The process of declination of water quality (WQ) in several natural sources of water is now an immense problem for mankind. Rivers are naturally flowing water bodies that have now become sewage carriers in most cases. Several workers monitored the deterioration of the WQ in rivers. This article reviews the WQ parameters of the river flow in the state of West Bengal (WB) in India. It also analyses and compares the WQ between the rivers of the northern and southern ranges of WB, emphasizing the complex interplay of geographies and anthropogenic influences. The rivers of northern WB, generally thought to be non-polluted, benefited from a slower pace of industrialization due to their hilly terrain. But recent evidence suggests a concerning decline in WQ, particularly in rivers like Torsha, attributed to factors like the initiation of industrialization, urban runoff, and agricultural practices. Conversely, rivers in southern WB face pronounced pollution from industrial effluents and untreated sewage, exacerbating contamination levels in rivers like Hooghly, Haldi, and Damodar. The direct discharge of pollutants into water bodies significantly impacts aquatic ecosystems, leading to nutrient enrichment, loss of biodiversity, and potential health hazards for both wildlife and human populations. The period of lockdown due to COVID-19 provided a distinct chance to observe the beneficial impacts of reduced anthropogenic activities on WQ, highlighting the potential for rejuvenation with proactive interventions. Comprehensive monitoring and treatment measures are urgently needed to address pollution from industrial, urban, and agricultural runoff. Effective policies and management strategies should be put in place. Thoughtful human activities can help alleviate the negative effects of water pollution and protect the sustainability of water sources for generations to come.


Bandyopadhyay S, Kar NS, Das S, Sen J. 2015. River Systems and Water Resources of West Bengal: A Review. Geological Society Special Publication 3, 63-84.

Banerjee US, Gupta S. 2012. Monitoring and assessment of river pollutants: A study on river Damodar and river Barakar of India using factor analysis. Journal of Environmental Research and Development 6(3A), 638-644.

Bera A, Bhattacharya M, Patra BC, Sar UK. 2014. Ichthyofaunal Diversity and Water Quality in the Kangsabati Reservoir, West Bengal, India. Advances in Zoology 1-8.

Bose R, De A, Mozumdar S, Sen G, Mukherjee AD. 2012. Coastal water pollution in two rivers of the Bengal delta. Geochemistry International 50(10), 860-868.

Brock TD, Madigan MT, Martinko JM, Parkar J. 1994. Biology of Microorganism, 7th Ed. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

Chaki N, Jahan S, Fahad MFH, Galib SM, Mohsin A. 2014. Environment and fish fauna of the Atrai River: global and local conservation perspective. Journal of Fisheries 2(3), 163-172.

Chakraborty B, Roy S, Bera A, Adhikary PP, Bera B, Sengupta D, Bhunia GS, Shit PK. 2021. Cleaning the river Damodar (India): impact of COVID‑19 lockdown on water quality and future rejuvenation strategies. Environment, Development and Sustainability 23, 1975-1989.

Chatterjee SK, Bhattacharjee I, Chandra G. 2009. Water quality assessment near an industrial site of Damodar River, India. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 161, 177-189.

Das A. 2017. Comparative Study of Pollution Status of Two Main Rivers: Karola and Tista. Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research 9(7), 76-81.

Das A. 2020. Water quality assessment of River Murti for the safety of wildlife, Jalpaiguri, West Bengal, India. Sustainable Water Resources Management 6(2), 1-8.

Das GK, Datta S. 2004. Studies on the impact of water quality on the adjoining wetland ecosystem of Bidyadhari River, W. Bengal. Indian Science Cruiser 18(4), 16-21.

Das S. 2018. West Bengal rivers are not suitable even for bathing, says report. The Hindu, 18th January 2018. Retrieved January 22, 2022 from https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/bengals-rivers-in-a-bad-shape/article22458683.

Das S, Nayek M, Das S, Dutta P, Mazumdar A. 2014. Impact on water quality in Piyali river, Sundarbans due to saline water intrusion. Indian Journal of Environmental Protection 34(12), 1010-1019.

Ghosh S, Chaudhury S, Manoj K. 2017. An Appraisal of the Mayurakshi River System Water Quality – the Agrarian Basin. International Journal of Agriculture and Environmental Science 4(4), 53-59.

Goswami K, Mazumdar I, Das D. 2018. Water quality and the fate of aquatic life in Torsa river, North Bengal, India: an analytical study. Journal of Environment and Life Sciences 3(3), 25-31.

Haldar D, Halder S, Das (Saha) P, Halder G. 2016. Assessment of water quality of Damodar River in South Bengal region of India by Canadian Council of Ministers of Environment (CCME), Water Quality Index: A case study. Desalination and Water Treatment 57(8), 3489-3502.

Ishimatsu A, Kikkawa T, Hayashi M, Lee KS, Kita J. 2007. Effects of CO2 on Marine Fish: Larvae and Adults. Journal of Oceanography 60, 731-741.

Khatri N, Tyagi S. 2014. Influences of natural and anthropogenic factors on surface and groundwater quality in rural and urban areas. Frontiers in Life Science 8(1), 23-39.

Kumar B, Singh UK, Padhy PK. 2014. Water quality assessment of Ajay River with reference to suitability for agricultural purposes. Environica-1, Levent Book publisher. 121-127p.

Mandal HS, Das A, Nanda AK. 2011. Monitoring Water quality and pollution status of Kaljani River at Alipurduar Municipality in Jalpaiguri District, West Bengal, India. Advances Applied Science Research 2(5), 158-166.

Mitra P, Pal DK, Das M. 2018. Does quality of drinking water matter in kidney stone disease: A study in West Bengal, India. Investigative and Clinical Urology 59(3), 158-165.

Mitra S, Ghosh S, Satpathy KK, Bhattacharya BD, Sarkar SK, Mishra P, Raja P. 2018. Water quality assessment of the ecologically stressed Hooghly River Estuary, India: A multivariate approach. Marine Pollution Bulletin 126, 592-599.

Mohanta T, Goel S. 2014. Assessment of Water Quality of Three Different Aquatic Environments Over Three Seasons. International Proceedings of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering 64(10), 49-53.

Mondal I, Bandyopadhyay J, Paul AK. 2016. Water quality modelling for seasonal fluctuation of Ichamati river, West Bengal, India. Modeling Earth Systems and Environment 2(113), 1-12.

Mozumder M, Pramanik S, Mandal SK, Rohatgi S. 2015. Assessment of Water Quality of River Mahananda. International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research and Development 2(11), 22-26.

Muduli PR, Kumar A, Kanuri VV, Mishra DR, Acharya P, Saha R, Biswas MK, Vidyarthi AK, Sudhakar A. 2021. Water quality assessment of the Ganges River during COVID-19 lockdown. International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology 18, 1645-1652.

Mukherjee S, Paramanik M. 2022. Impact of Durga idol immersion on water bodies with early and late removal of idols in Asansol, West Bengal, India. International Journal of Zoological Investigations 8(1), 152-161. https://doi.org/10.33745/ijzi.2022.v08i01.019

Mukherjee S, Paramanik S, Paramanik M. 2022. The repercussion of a transformed environment on the diversity and abundance of common Avifauna in the Asansol – Burnpur industrial zone, West Bengal, India. Environment and Ecology 40(4B), 2499-2507.

Mukherjee S, Paramanik M. 2023. Water quality and pollution status of River Nunia, at Asansol, West Bengal. In: Mukherjee G, Chakraborty S, Roy S, Banerjee A, Sharma AK, Paramanik A (Eds.), Trends in Sustainable Design, Technology and Innovation – Proceedings of the International Career Outreach Conference, 26th – 28th November 2022. Red’Shine Publ. Pvt. Ltd., India (ISBN: 978-93-5879-479-3), 32-39p.

Nath S, Mukherjee R, Bose S, Ghosh S. 2017. A short period assessment of water physicochemical characteristics of Hoogly river, West Bengal, India. International Research Journal of Environmental Sciences 6(2), 1-6.

Panigrahi AK, Pattnaik S. 2019. A review on pollution status of river Bhagirathi-Hooghly in the stretch of West Bengal, India. Indian Journal of Applied Research 9(8), 1-5.

Paramanik M, Bhattacharjee I, Chandra G. 2012. Studies on breeding habitats and density of postembryonic immature filarial vector in a filarial endemic area. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine 2, s1869-s1873. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2221-1691(12)60511-5.

Paramanik M, Chatterjee SK, Chandra G. 2023. Larvicidal efficacy of the Vangueria spinosa Roxb. (Rubiaceae) leaf extracts against filarial vector Culex quinquefasciatus. International Journal of Mosquito Research 10(1), 1-6. https://doi.org/10.22271/23487941.2023.v10.i1a.655.

Paul D. 2017. Research on heavy metal pollution of river Ganga: A review. Annals of Agricultural Sciences 15(2), 278-286.

Rahmanian N, Ali SHB, Homayoonfard M, Ali NJ, Rehan M, Sadef Y, Nizami AS. 2015. Analysis of physicochemical parameters to evaluate the drinking water quality in the state of Perak, Malaysia. Journal of Chemistry 1-10.

Roy AN, Paramanik M. 2022. Assessment of Groundwater and Surface-Water Resources of Gushkara in Purba Bardhaman (West Bengal, India) using the Water Quality Index. International Journal of Zoological Investigations 8(2), 814-817. https://doi.org/10.33745/ijzi.2022.v08i02.098

Singh AL. 2013. Nitrate and phosphate contamination in water and possible remedial measures. In: Dwivedi N (Ed), Environmental Problems and Plant. Springer Verlag GmbH Heidelberg, Germany 3, 44-56.

Sinha SN, Banerjee RD. 1995. Pollution indicators and impact assessment of pollutants discharged into the River Ganga. International Journal of Environmental Studies 48(3-4), 231-244.

Suthar S, Sharma J, Chabukdhara M, Nema AK. 2010. Water quality assessment of river Hindon at Ghaziabad, India: Impact of industrial and urban wastewater. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 165(1-4), 103-112.

Tirkey P, Bhattacharya T, Chakraborty S. 2013. Water Quality Indices- Important Tools for Water Quality Assessment. International Journal of Advanced Chemistry 1(1), 15-28.

Ward MH, Jones RR, Brender JD, de Kok TM, Weyer PJ, Nolan BT, Villanueva CM, van Breda SG. 2018.  Drinking Water Nitrate and Human Health: An Updated Review International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 15(7), 1557.

WHO. 2019.  Fact Sheets: Drinking Water. World Health Organization. Retrieved January 22, 2022 from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/drinking-water