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IISc's facility to trace metal pollution in river Ganga

The facility, equipped with a triple Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer model which is top in the world, can identify very tricky metals (which may even be toxic) at very low concentrations.

Published: 12th June 2021 01:56 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th June 2021 01:56 PM   |  A+A-

River Ganga

River Ganga (Representational Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: A multi-instrument facility harboured in Indian Institute of Science will soon identify the concentration of toxic metal pollution in the Ganga, Godavari, and Kaveri at high precision.

The facility, equipped with a triple Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer model which is top in the world, can identify very tricky metals (which may even be toxic) at very low concentrations.

Samples from Ganga were collected and the analysis will be made after the lockdown is lifted.

The metal analysis is conducted as part of a project 'Fast Forward to SGD6: Acceptable and affordable water in secondary Indian cities (4WARD)' supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), whose focus is to identify and alleviate the water quality in Tier-two cities in India.

Speaking to The New Indian Express, Sambuddha Misra, principal investigator for the project and Assistant Professor, Indian Institute of Science (IISc) said that for the metal test, about a hundred samples of the Ganga have already been collected from various stretches -- Srirampur, which is 60 Km north of Kolkata all the way to the Bay of Bengal -- during a two week sampling in February.

Following which, researchers are looking at collecting samples of a Kaveri estuary in Pichavaram, Tamil Nadu, as part of sampling the Kaveri river water in the winters.

"Estuaries are fascinating, because a lot of metal dissolve from clay particles in them and that makes is a very dynamic system," said Misra.

In case of an estuarian sample, the analysis is a three step process, one has to first determine the sodium concentration because of the sea water intrusion, which makes the analysis a bit complicated. Researchers use a matrix matching to nullify the sea water effect.

"Once the samples are collected, filtration takes a day through units available at the lab, and if the sample is gotten through the Mass-spectrometer, the number can be gotten in a day's time. For estuarian samples, a day more can be added," Misra said.

For all practical consideration Misra said the instrumentation can analyse the toxins in the water down to 10 parts per trillion.



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