STAFF REPORT ISB: Industrial waste dumped into Chenab River is threatening the aquatic plant life, says a new study conducted by researchers at the Department of Biotechnology, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.

The study investigates the impact of polluted sediment on the morphological and biochemical prospects of Brassica napus seedlings, grown in vitro.

“Pollutants dragged into the river are posing more danger to plant life, as compared to that of pollutants on dry land,” said Gulistan Wali, expert at the environmental science department of Fatima Jinnah Womens University.

“Empirical evidence shows that organo-chlorine pesticides, organic pollutants and some hydrocarbons also persist in the river, thus making it contaminated and unfavourable for seedlings,” Attarad Ali, researcher at QAU, said.

Sediments in the river adsorb pollutants and detoxify the flowing water. “These contaminated sediments not only affect aquatic life but also alter the physiology and morphology of plants both at cellular and organ levels,” says Ali.

The researchers selected B. napus L. as a target plant in this study because of its ideal scientific features. “It germinates in all seasons and places, and gives desired results in each season,” said Ali.

The research findings revealed variations in the rate of germination, indicating different levels of contamination. Biotechnological tests on the target plant suggested that huge amounts of pesticides and chemicals are running off from the surrounding fields into the Chenab.

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