Assessment of pulp and paper mill effluent quality and its toxicity to fingerlings of Cyprinus carpio
Effluents from a pulp and paper mill in India were analyzed for various physicochemical parameters and heavy metals. Multivariate statistical analysis was used to interpret the data obtained and predict the toxicity of each component to Cyprinus carpio L. fingerlings. The results showed that most of these parameters exceeded recommended levels set by various agencies, and the effluent was not suitable for discharge into agricultural fields or water bodies without further treatment. The results of static renewal toxicity tests revealed median lethal concentrations at 24, 48, 72, and 96 h to be 42, 25, 18.6 and 14.5%, respectively, and the fingerlings exhibited severe behavioral anomalies. The sublethal dose of 2.9% (v/v) caused alterations in the gill and liver at durations of 7, 14, 21, and 28 d. Anomalies such as mucous secretion, leucocyte infiltration, curling of the secondary lamellae tip, clubbing, and the fusion of the secondary lamellae, aneurism, etc. were prominent. The liver showed inflammatory infiltration, cytoplasmic inclusion bodies, vacuolar degeneration, fatty degeneration, pyknosis, karyolysis, distorted pancreatic area, and piecemeal necrosis, among other pathological symptoms. The study concluded that the effluent, even in greatly diluted form, was highly toxic and the severity of responses depended on the length of exposure.