Streambed pollution: A comprehensive review of its sources, eco-hydro-geo-chemical impacts, assessment, and mitigation strategies

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Aadhityaa Mohanavelu, Shivansh Shrivastava, Sujay Raghavendra Naganna


Streambeds are among the important components of stream ecosystems and support several critical ecosystem services such as transformation of organic matter and nutrients and provide habitat for aquatic organisms. Increasing anthropogenic influence introduces multiple stressors to the stream networks resulting in pollution of streambeds, which in turn, could have detrimental effects on overall stream ecosystem health. However, there are gaps in the current understanding of the impacts of streambed pollution and the mitigation strategies lack holistic approach. In this review, we first present a global inventory to highlight the status of streambed pollution around the globe. Next, we synthesize the state-of-art knowledge of conventional and emerging forms of contaminants, their overall impacts on stream ecosystem functions, and finally present future directions to comprehend the problem of streambed pollution. We highlight that fine sediments and plastics (found especially in urban streambeds) are among the major physical pollutants of streambed pollution and the chemical pollutants generally comprise of hydrophobic compounds including various legacy contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), a wide range of pesticides and a variety of heavy metals. Further, in recent years, highly polar and hydrophilic emerging contaminants such as micro-plastics, pharmaceutical waste and personal care products have been identified in rivers around the world. We stress that the impacts of streambed pollution have been largely studied with discipline-driven perspectives amongst which the ecological impacts have received a lot of attention in the past. To present a comprehensive outlook, this review also synthesizes the hydrological, geomorphological and biochemical impacts of different forms of streambed pollutants. In the end, we endorse the positive and negative aspects of the current impact assessment methodologies and also highlight various physical, chemical and biological remediation measures that could be applied to alleviate streambed pollution.



Engineering, Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Streambed pollution, Global pollution inventory, Legacy pollutants, Eco-hydro-geo-chemical impacts, Remediation


Published: 2021-09-10 23:24


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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