Amita Sarkar and Bhavna Upadhyay

Department of Zoology

Agra College, Agra (India)-282001

Corresponding author: bhavnaupa@gmail.com


The term pollution broadly refers to any undesirable change in the natural quality of environment brought about by physical, chemical, or biologicalfactors. The Yamuna River in Agra(U.P.) India was highly polluted in recent years. 40 days of experiments were conducted in the laboratory to examine the effect of polluted water of river Yamuna at Agra on blood parameters of goldfishCarassius auratus. Fishes were divided into Group I and Group II. In Group I, fishes were held in Yamuna River water and in Group II, fishes were held in groundwater (unpolluted) for the 40 days between April 1 to June 10. The effect of polluted water on R.B.C.Count, W.B.C. Haemoglobin % and MCHC % were investigated in the goldfish. Our results suggested that in group I, survival rate of fishes were low, due to pollutants, R.B.C.s and W.B.C.s. Haemoglobin and MCHC % decreased in Group I in comparison with Group II due to the polluted water.

Keywords: R.B.C, W.B.C, Haemoglobin , MCHC etc.


The many sources of water pollution cause devastating consequences to marine life. Fish and marine mammals at the top of the food chain are exposed to higher levels of toxins due to the fact that they are exposed to toxins directly from the water and toxins from eating other fish exposed to toxins in the water (Smith,1997). The river pollution caused by industrial effluents also affect its flora and fauna (Pandey, 2001). Concern over impaired reproduction is justified by available experimental evidences (Gross, 1975). Pollutant administered to adult fish at later stages of their sexual maturation have caused spawning failure or lowered spawning success (Rowe et al., 1983. Haematological characteristics have been widely used in clinical diagnosis of human and domestic animals and their techniques have proved valuable for fishery biologists in assessing the health of fish and monitoring stress response (Soivio and Okari,1976).

The mechanism by which contaminants can affect fish reproduction are several. Some pollutants are known to influence directly the reproductive hormones in fish or interfere with the egg formation process; they may damage reproductive tissues and impair their functions (Sangalam and Freeman, 1974). Sangalang and O’Halloran (1972), reported extensive hemorrhagic necrosis in tests of brook trout exposed to 25 ppm Cadmium in water. The tests ability to synthesize steroid hormones in vitro had also been affected by the cadmium: the gonads were unable to produce testosterone.

In small tests fish exposed to given pollutants over the course of their lifetime have exhibited reproductive impairment ranging from undeveloped gonads to decreased egg production and abnormal law at offspring (Makin, 1985). Environmental pollution is an unfavourable alteration of our surroundings due to direct or indirect activities of man. The high rate of increase of human population, rapid expansion in industrial and urbanactivities and modernization of agriculture has resulted in the generation of a high volume of waste material causing gradual deterioration of valuable resources of biological productivity (Rowe et al.,1983).

Due to rapid industrialization, application of synthetic fertilizers and use of various insecticides and pesticides, natural water resources are fast degrading in water quality. Aquatic ecosystems that run through agricultural or industrial areas have a high probability of being contaminated by run off and ground water leaching a variety of chemicals (Todd and Leuwen, 2002).

Agricultural pesticides are released into the atmosphere by way of spray drift, post application, volatilization and wind erosion of soil (Qiu et al., 2004). Ventura et al. (2008) reported that pesticides present in aquatic environments can affect aquatic organisms in different ways. In India, more than 70% of the chemical formulations used in agricultural practices find their way to freshwater bodies to ultimately affect non-target organisms (Bhatnagar et al., 1992).


Sexually mature goldfish were collected from commercial dealers (mean weight 45±2.5 gm) and were kept in an aquarium until the experiment began in April. Aerated and dechlorinated water with flow rate of 1.5 L min-1 9 ppm dissolved oxygen, 7.8 pH and 102 mg as CaCO3 total water hardness was used. The experiment lasted for 40 days. The fishes were fed twice daily with a commercial fish meal based extruded diet (diameter/mm; 55% Crudeprotein 14% Crude lipid, 4296 Cal g-1 diet gross energy) at 3.5% body weight at 10:00 am and 14:00 pm. One hour after feeding uneaten feed was removed by the sandpipe at the bottom of the tank. Fishes were transferred in a glass aquarium size 4 x 4 x 2 feet. Two aquariums were used, one was filled with Yamuna River water and twenty fishes were kept in each aquarium. In second aquarium fishes were kept in ground water (pure and unpolluted) in natural conditions. Bottom of the aquarium was covered with sand, submerged plants and stones. Blood samples were collected by caudal peduncle excision.

R.B.C. and W.B.C.count through the blood from the caudal vein from control and treated fishes was collected for haematological investigation. R.B.C. and W.B.C.by (Wintro, 1967) mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration (MCHC) were determined according to Dacie and Lewis (1975), haemoglobin content (Vankampen, 1961).

Statistical analysis – Results were subjected to T test and Duncan’s multiple range test for comparison of the means among different concentrations studied at the 5% probability level.

Results and Discussion

Fig – I : City map of Agra Showing different Yamuna river sites.

Fig – II: Effect of polluted water of River Yamuna on various parameters of Goldfish polluted water (Group I) and unpolluted water (Group II).

W.B.C. Count (mm3 x 103)3.42 ± 0.365.88 ± 0.24
R.B.C. Count (10mm-3)1.02 ± 0.091.86 ± 0.1
Haemoglobin(g/100ml)4.1 ± 0.596.98 ± 0.38
MCHC %8.6 ± 0.2612.2 ± 0.15

All data are presented Mean ± Sem for GSI %, R.B.C. Count, W.B.C. Count, Hb, and MCHC %. All data are differed significantly P<0.05.

Fig – III : Showing values of different blood parameters of Goldfish, error bars indicates Standard error of mean.


Fishes are in indirect contact with their surrounding environment and any change in the environment will be reflected as changes in their physiological processes and survival. Fishes possess shorter development time compared to mammalian species (Peakall, 1992).

Fish are one of the most widely distributed organisms in an aquatic environment and being susceptible to environmental contamination may reflect the extent of the biological effects of environmental pollution in waters. Monitoring of blood parameters, both cellular and noncellular may have considerable diagnostic value in assessing early warning signs of pesticide poisoning (Pant et al., 1987). It is well known that water pollution is an issue beginning to receive more attention recently. Discharging into the rivers, discharging of sewage of fish growing fields are major sources of pollution. But no considerable steps have been taken for fish growing fields in the country and the sewage water pouring into rivers. Since rivers constitute main sources of fresh water used in agriculture, drinking, and industrial applications, everything that causes the water pollution can be considered as an important issue to be studied (Smith,1997).

In this study when fishes were held in polluted water in aquariums(Group-I and in ground water (Group-II), the changes in the morphological appearances and the change in haematological parameters of the fish were observed.

In group I, 5 fish died due to pollutants present in river water so the survival % in group I was less than group II. R.B.C., W.B.C. count, MCHC % and Haemoglobin content also decreased significantly (p<0.05) in comparison with group II in which fishes were held in unpolluted ground water. Our results concluded that water pollution in river and other water bodies is very harmful for fishes because of pollutants present in water, polluted water reduced survival, blood parameter levels in Goldfish. Water pollution is an issue beginning to attract more attention recently; discharging of sewages, effluents from houses, industrial water, industrial wastes. Pesticides from fields also polluted rivers and lakes and this polluted water is harmful for fishes to survive and reproduce so it is our duty to stop polluting the water to save fishes.Water pollution is a major global problem which requires ongoing evaluation and revision of  water resource policy  at all levels.  It has been suggested that it is the leading worldwide cause of deaths and diseases.


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