SEGH Articles

# Brick Kilns and Fish: a Symbiotic Relationship?

08 April 2014
During the 1st two weeks in March Dr Andy Marriott and Dr Simon Chenery visited India to foster ties between India and UK environmental scientists.

During the 1st two weeks in March Dr Andy Marriott and Dr Simon Chenery visited India to foster ties between India and UK environmental scientists. They were funded by the BGS Global and Centre for Environmental Geochemistry teams to develop future collaborative research in the growing suburban aquaculture systems.

Arriving in Calcutta, the city was an immediate assault on our senses. The loud cacophony of frantic horns emanating from all manner of transportation, buses, lorries, cars, motorbikes and of course the local form of transport the tut tuk’s (auto-rickshaw) sounded there confusion as each tried to jostle for position in the melee that was traffic control. India Style!!!! Construction work is everywhere with buildings sprouting up from land cleared for just this purpose. After such a long journey the developing world is really in your face! We arrived at our destination; the university guest house in its faded glory seemed like an ocean of calm in what appears to be a world of change. On our arrival we were met by Dr Sarkar our host and dear friend from the Marine Biology department at the University of Calcutta.

This was my first trip to India and my colleague Dr Simon Chenery’s second. We visited India with the intention of developing a joint international project to investigate the biogeochemical cycling of pollutants/minerals and potential for bioaccumulation in aquacultural fish from Indian pond systems. This was our opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences from our different fields of expertise with a view to applying to UK and Indian agencies future research funding. Crucially, we were there to understand the aquaculture ponds role in supplying fish as the main source of protein/minerals for Calcutta and potential for pollutant cycling.

One hour south of Calcutta we approached the aquaculture pond systems formed from former brick/clay extraction sites. Here you see brick manufacture on a large scale, with brick kilns located along the main Hughli River, with their chimneys, spewing out their acrid plumes. We counted 10 such chimneys along the river banks. The areas surrounding the kilns are littered with ponds large and small, from where the removed clay are now filled with water from the river. Intertwined, these ponds are split using clay left over from the brick manufacture as makeshift walls to separate each pond. Along the makeshift walls were small reed and wood huts. We were informed that the huts were used by what we would term the local bailiff and would allow him to remain on site and to protect the pond owner’s interests. The Fish! An indication on how profitable the ponds were in the ever increasing system of aquaculture production.

Brick manufacture and the chimneys which form an integral part of the process go hand in hand with fish aquaculture with ponds forming part of the overall system.

Pond construction and channels to allow the movement of water and fish.

Areas where Brick kilns meet fisheries aquaculture. Note the makeshift hut on the right of the picture for the pond bailiff.

Discussions with locals by our hosts led us to a couple of likely sites. After some negotiation, we were taken to a pond where they had some fish ready netted. Surrounded by a bevy of men, women and children we collected our fish, water and sediment. Our hosts went through a questionnaire with the fisherman. Introductions complete, we were then taken to the first pond and watched as the owner walked through with his accomplice to corral fish into a corner where he could cast his net. Throughout the week we visited 9 sites/ponds and collected between 4-8 fish from each one. Now followed the task of processing all of our samples.

Local fisherman casting his net.

The pond owner proudly holding a fish surrounded by family and locals from his village.

Back at the University we prepared our samples, filtered the water and stored the sediment. Then came the arduous task of processing all those fish. Working as a team, Dr Chenery and I, and the ever helpful and enthusiastic Baskhar and two of Dr Sarkar’s PhD students Dibyendu and Soumi worked through collecting tissue samples e.g. muscle, liver and gonads combined with biological measurements such as length and weight. Scale samples were collected for aging and the removal of the fish’s ear stone or otolith. This little aragonite structure would be later used to verify the fishes age and to assess elemental concentrations incorporated within its structure using LA-and sb-ICP-MS. Trained by myself in the black art of otolith extraction Baskhar, Debindar and Soumi all became quite adept and finding these sometimes elusive little structures. Tissue samples were then vacuum sealed and stored frozen until we would transport them back with us to the UK the following morning. Detailed analyses will follow to better understand the mineral and potential biogeochemical cycling of pollutants in these ponds which work on both an artisanal and commercial scale.

From left to right. Dibyendu, Dr Chenery, Baskhar and Soumi process one of the fish in the labs at the marine science department.

Team Fish: Soumi Mitra, Dr Andy Marriott, Dr Simon Chenery, Baskhar Deb Bhattacharya, Dr Santosh Sarkar (our host) and Dibyendu Rakshit (BGS, University of Bangor, University of Calcutta).

By Dr Andrew Marriott, BGS and University of Bangor.

Keep up to date

## SEGH 34th International Conference on Sustainable Geochemistry

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

02 July 2018

## SubmitContent

Members can keep in touch with their colleagues through short news and events articles of interest to the SEGH community.

## Science in theNews

Latest on-line papers from the SEGH journal: Environmental Geochemistry and Health

• Characteristics of PM 2.5 , CO 2 and particle-number concentration in mass transit railway carriages in Hong Kong 2017-08-01

### Abstract

Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) levels, carbon dioxide (CO2) levels and particle-number concentrations (PNC) were monitored in train carriages on seven routes of the mass transit railway in Hong Kong between March and May 2014, using real-time monitoring instruments. The 8-h average PM2.5 levels in carriages on the seven routes ranged from 24.1 to 49.8 µg/m3, higher than levels in Finland and similar to those in New York, and in most cases exceeding the standard set by the World Health Organisation (25 µg/m3). The CO2 concentration ranged from 714 to 1801 ppm on four of the routes, generally exceeding indoor air quality guidelines (1000 ppm over 8 h) and reaching levels as high as those in Beijing. PNC ranged from 1506 to 11,570 particles/cm3, lower than readings in Sydney and higher than readings in Taipei. Correlation analysis indicated that the number of passengers in a given carriage did not affect the PM2.5 concentration or PNC in the carriage. However, a significant positive correlation (p < 0.001, R 2 = 0.834) was observed between passenger numbers and CO2 levels, with each passenger contributing approximately 7.7–9.8 ppm of CO2. The real-time measurements of PM2.5 and PNC varied considerably, rising when carriage doors opened on arrival at a station and when passengers inside the carriage were more active. This suggests that air pollutants outside the train and passenger movements may contribute to PM2.5 levels and PNC. Assessment of the risk associated with PM2.5 exposure revealed that children are most severely affected by PM2.5 pollution, followed in order by juveniles, adults and the elderly. In addition, females were found to be more vulnerable to PM2.5 pollution than males (p < 0.001), and different subway lines were associated with different levels of risk.

• Comparison of chemical compositions in air particulate matter during summer and winter in Beijing, China 2017-08-01

### Abstract

The development of industry in Beijing, the capital of China, particularly in last decades, has caused severe environmental pollution including particulate matter (PM), dust–haze, and photochemical smog, which has already caused considerable harm to local ecological environment. Thus, in this study, air particle samples were continuously collected in August and December, 2014. And elements (Si, Al, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn, Mo, Cd, Ba, Pb and Ti) and ions ( $${\text{NO}}_{3}^{-}$$ , $${\text{SO}}_{4}^{2-}$$ , F, Cl, Na+, K+, Mg2+, Ca2+ and $${\text{NH}}_{4}^{+}$$ ) were analyzed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer and ion chromatography. According to seasonal changes, discuss the various pollution situations in order to find possible particulate matter sources and then propose appropriate control strategies to local government. The results indicated serious PM and metallic pollution in some sampling days, especially in December. Chemical Mass Balance model revealed central heating activities, road dust and vehicles contribute as main sources, account for 5.84–32.05 % differently to the summer and winter air pollution in 2014.

• Annual ambient atmospheric mercury speciation measurement from Longjing, a rural site in Taiwan 2017-08-01

### Abstract

The main purpose of this study was to monitor ambient air particulates and mercury species [RGM, Hg(p), GEM and total mercury] concentrations and dry depositions over rural area at Longjing in central Taiwan during October 2014 to September 2015. In addition, passive air sampler and knife-edge surrogate surface samplers were used to collect the ambient air mercury species concentrations and dry depositions, respectively, in this study. Moreover, direct mercury analyzer was directly used to detect the mercury Hg(p) and RGM concentrations. The result indicated that: (1) The average highest RGM, Hg(p), GEM and total mercury concentrations, and dry depositions were observed in January, prevailing dust storm occurred in winter season was the possible major reason responsible for the above findings. (2) The highest average RGM, Hg(p), GEM and total mercury concentrations, dry depositions and velocities were occurred in winter. This is because that China is the largest atmospheric mercury (Hg) emitter in the world. Its Hg emissions and environmental impacts need to be evaluated. (3) The results indicated that the total mercury ratios of Kaohsiung to that of this study were 5.61. This is because that Kaohsiung has the largest industry density (~60 %) in Taiwan. (4) the USA showed average lower mercury species concentrations when compared to those of the other world countries. The average ratios of China/USA values were 89, 76 and 160 for total mercury, RGM and Hg(p), respectively, during the years of 2000–2012.