New insights into the bioaccumulation of persistent organic pollutants in remote alpine lakes located in Himalayas, Pakistan

Javed Nawab, Xiaoping Wang, Sardar Khan, Yu Ting Tang, Ziaur Rahman, Abid Ali, Jagdish Dotel, Gang Li

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The current study assesses the persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in water and their bioaccumulation in Brown Trout (BT) and Rainbow Trout (RT) present in the remote alpine lakes (RALs) of Himalayas, Pakistan. Hence, these environments might receive POPs by long range atmospheric transport (LRAT) with little interferences from local anthropogenic activities. The potential transportation pathways for such accumulation can be atmospheric precipitation, melting ice and glacial runoff. The results indicated that the sum of mean concentrations of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs (DDTs + HCHs)) in water of Glacial-fed lakes, Ice melting-fed lake and Rain-fed lake ranged from 0.21 to 317, 0.14–293, 0.16–235 pg L−1, respectively, while those of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are 0.275–16.02, 0–15.88, 0.234–14.46 pg L−1, respectively. Similarly, the sum of mean concentrations of all investigated PCBs and OCPs in BT ranged from 0.008 to 0.715 ng g−1 and 0.003–3.835 ng g−1 based on wet weight (ww), while for RT these concentrations were 0.002–0.557 ng g−1 and 0.001–1.402 ng g−1 (ww), respectively in the selected RALs. The PCBs and OCPs levels in both water and fish tissues were observed in order of Glacial-fed lakes > Ice melting-fed lake > Rain-fed lake. The results proposed that melting of ice and glacial water are more significant sources of the contaminants (PCBs and OCPs) in the freshwaters of RALs of Himalayas as compared to rainfall water. The positive correlation between water contamination and the selected fish species confirmed that these can be used as a bio-indicator for future research studies. However, the impact of POPs as they cascade through downstream ecosystems remains largely unexplored. The additional study of contaminant dynamics should be extended to a wide range of mountain environments of Himalayas, where melt-water used for drinking and irrigation purposes by billions of people reside alone the waterways that originated from these remote areas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114952
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2020


  • Bioaccumulation
  • Cancer risk
  • Long range atmospheric transport
  • Persistent organic pollutants
  • Remote alpine lakes
  • Trout fish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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