Heavy Metals in Soils and Plants
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PREFACE We are living in Iron age. Human civilization started with the accidental discovery of metals especially copper. Since then human civilization has taken long strides with the help of metals. We can now fly in the air, travel on land and enjoy oceanic journey with their help. Plants and animals have tested them since long. Chlorophyll contains magensium and iron, blood contains iron, bones contain calcium. All these metals are beneficial but all metals are not so. Beneficial ones become toxic when present in large amounts and lead to metallic pollution. Demographic growth, increasing urbanization, industrialization and change in life style triggering greater use of detergents, domestic sprays, medical wastes etc. are expected to produce large quantities of anthropogenic wastewaters with different composition. In the country about 22900 MLD of domestic wastewater and 83048 MLD of major industries wastewater are generated. Moreover, 4415954 tonnes per annum of hazardous waste are generated from 13011 industries in the country. These wastewaters contain one or combination of heavy metals depending upon their source of origin. Heavy metals are among the most dangerous contaminants of environment. The accumulation of the heavy metals in various human or animal organs-liver, kidney etc. lead to various diseases. Thus metallic pollution has assumed serious proportions. The heavy metals have presented a danger to living species, Cd, Cr, and Pb need special mention. Since soil can no longer bear a greater loading of these metals, vegetation can be the only means to extract and reduce them. But this reduction in soil might increase their concentration in humanbeings and animals. The metallic effluents meeting rivers poison fish and the birds feeding on them are poisoned in return. Presently about 15 of India s water resources are consumed in domestic and industrial requirments and share of these two sectors will grow to about 30 by 2050. The total water supply to urban population will be 90 km3 and to industries, it will be 81 km3 by 2050. Therefore, production of industrial wastewaters will multiply in quantity with more contaminants like heavy metals including organic compounds and dissolved toxins. The present share of 85 of available water resources to agriculture will go down to 68-70 by 2050 and it is estimated that about 1.5 M-ha of land can be irrigated from available wastewater of the country by integrated management. The present human civilization is plagued with metallic pollution. Therefore, there is need to understand the basic ideas lying behind it. The nature of metals, the way they become absorbed, solubilize in the soil, contamination in soil and water, amount needed and toxic levels need special description. Monitoring may help in controlling their levels, and at the same time may help in forecasting. Besides, soil and plant factors to affect on uptake of heavy metals by plants as well as plant growth have been thoroughly discussed. The impact of biotransfer of heavy metals on animals, humanbeings and aquatic life have been highlighted. At the last authors have tried to give remediation measures for contaminated soil and wastewater. The authors have tried to collect the relevant information from standard literature at command. The authors acknowledge the assistance received from all the sources of books, journals, reports.
4 It is hoped that this book will help in drawing attention of the general readers towards growing menace of metallic pollution and also be useful to students, teachers, researchers, extension workers, planners and administrators. Although efforts have been made to make it errorless yet some mistakes might have crept in. We shall be grateful to receive comments and suggestions to improve the next edition for which no stone will be left unturned.