Studies of mercury pollution in a lake due to a thermometer factory situated in a tourist resort: Kodaikkanal, India

Kodaikkanal, India, suffered mercury contamination due to emissions and waste from a thermometer factory. Kodai Lake is situated to the north of the factory. The present study determined mercury in waters, sediment and fish samples and compared the values with those from two other lakes, Berijam and Kukkal. Total mercury (HgT) of 356e465 ng l1 , and 50 ng l1 of mercury in methyl mercury form were seen in Kodai waters while Berijam and Kukkal waters showed significantly lower values. Kodai sediment showed 276e350 mg/kg HgT with about 6% methyl mercury. Berijam and Kukkal sediments showed HgT of 189e226 mg/kg and 85e91 mg/kg and lower methylation at 3e4% and 2%, respectively. HgT in fish from Kodai lake ranged from 120 to 290 mg/kg. The results show that pollution of the lake has taken place due to mercury emissions by the factory.

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