Aquatic pollution caused by industrial effluents is an environmental issue, imposing deleterious impacts on the overall environment, specifically, on humans, by disrupting the balance of the ecosystem. Among all the industries, tanneries are considered some of the most polluting due to heavy use of toxic organic and inorganic compounds during leather processing, most of which find their way into rivers, lakes, and streams, thus exerting adverse effects on aquatic life, particularly on fish. Considering the huge concentrations of pollutants present in tannery effluents, toxicity evaluation is of prime importance. Therefore, bioassays are usually employed to assess the acute toxicity of industrial effluents and efficiency of effluent clean-up technologies as they provide a thorough response of test species to the substances present in the tested media. In the present study, the toxic effects of tannery effluent on common grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) were studied for 96 h in laboratory conditions. The effluent was added at different concentrations, before and after treatment by constructed wetlands (CWs). During this period, mortality data was collected to calculate the 96 h-LC50 (lethal concentration inducing 50% mortality) and acute toxicity of C. idella. In addition to this, observations on change in morphological, physiological, and behavioural patterns were also made every 24 h. The present toxicity assay revealed that the raw tannery effluent changed the morphology, physiology, and behavioural response of fish. Moreover, fish exposure to raw/untreated effluent caused high acute toxicity and 100% mortality, due to the presence of high concentrations of salts and chromium (Cr) metal. While treatment of tannery effluent by CWs vegetated with different plants (B. mutica, L. fusca, and T. domingensis) significantly reduced its toxicity and fish mortality as well, and inoculation of salt and Cr-tolerant endophytic bacteria (Enterobacter sp. HU38, Microbacterium arborescens HU33, and Pantoea stewartii ASI11) further reduced (up to 90%) its toxicity level. Hence, the use of CWs for tannery effluent treatment can be recommended to favour public health and promote the overall safety of the environment.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited