Variability of water quality and metal pollution index in the Ganges River, Bangladesh

Md Morshedul Haque, Nahin Mostofa Niloy, Omme K. Nayna, Konica J. Fatema, Shamshad B. Quraishi, Ji Hyung Park, Kyoung Woong Kim, Shafi M. Tareq

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53 Scopus citations


The Ganges River is one of the biggest transboundary streams in the Indian sub-continent. The significant part of this waterway channel drains one of the most densely populated areas on the planet so it is unequivocally influenced by human activities. Unprecedented high-temporal-resolution samples were collected for investigating the seasonal variability of water quality. Water quality index (WQI) reveals large seasonal variation among three major seasons and also indicates that the river water is not suitable for drinking and other household uses. The dominant water facies is bicarbonate (HCO3). The water quality indices, %Na, Kelley’s ratio (KR), sodium adsorption ratio (SAR), and magnesium adsorption ratio (MAR), reveal that the water is appropriate for irrigation. The permeability index (PI) indicated that the water is moderate to poorly useable for agricultural purposes. Heavy metals concentrations demonstrated significant seasonal variations with high concentrations during the monsoon due to flushing of pollutants from catchment areas by intense monsoonal precipitations. In addition, local activities such as oil spills from the boat, vehicle washing water, and agricultural runoff may also added pollutants. The single-factor pollution index (Ii) and Nemerow pollution index (Ni) exhibits minor pollution. The values of heavy metal pollution index (HPI) are far below than the critical limit (100) for the studied month, although relatively higher HPI values found for April, August, and November than other months might come from domestic wastes and agricultural activities. The heavy metal evaluation index (HEI) values of all the months indicated a low degree of pollution. Even though the river water pollution level is low, the authority should take proper management and monitoring strategy for sustainable use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42582-42599
Number of pages18
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number34
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

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© 2020, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • Drinking and irrigation
  • Heavy metal
  • Public health
  • River Ganga
  • Temporal variation
  • Water quality index (WQI)


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