PHYTOREMEDIATION OF LEAD AND COPPER USING FICUS VIRENS AND AZADIRACHTA INDICA IN BAREILLY, UTTAR PRADESH, INDIAAKANSHA TRIPATHI AND SAURABH SHUKLA
The rapid industrialization and urbanization along with other anthropogenic sources led to release of heavy metals in atmosphere, making it a global concern. Being non-biodegradable, these heavy metals keep getting accumulated in the environment and subsequently contaminate the food chain. Moreover, heavy metals are proven carcinogun and may cause neurological and behavioural changes. Several plant species have been used, over the years, to monitor and reduce the concentrations or toxic effects of contaminants in the environment known as phytoremediation, which is a relatively recent technology, proven to be cost-effective, efficient, novel and ecofriendly. The aim of this study was to analyze the heavy metal accumulation in leaves and bark of Ficus virens and Azadirachta indica from atmospheric pollution. The concentration of Lead (Pb) and Copper (Cu) were determined by atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS) in leaf and bark collected from three selected sites categorized as polluted (NH24), semi-polluted (Nawabganj), and nonpolluted areas of Bareilly. Lead concentration was found to be higher than Copper at these sites. At the site NH24, accumulation of lead in leaves of Ficus virens and Azadirachta indica was more than the bark which indicates that leaves directly adsorb lead from air and are better bio-indicators than the bark for atmospheric pollution. The Ficus virens and Azadirachta indica are not only good bio-indicators but also good phytoremediation species for heavy metal pollution in atmosphere. The high concentration of Lead in air also raises questions on the quality of petroleum products in use.
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