Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Effect of COVID-19 Lockdown on Metal Concentration in the Water Column of Asia’s Largest Coastal Lagoon

Version 1 : Received: 13 June 2021 / Approved: 14 June 2021 / Online: 14 June 2021 (15:56:06 CEST)

How to cite: Farooq, S.H.; Mishra, A.K.; Muhakud, S.K.; Acharya, P.; Muduli, P.R.; Swain, D. Effect of COVID-19 Lockdown on Metal Concentration in the Water Column of Asia’s Largest Coastal Lagoon. Preprints 2021, 2021060378 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202106.0378.v1). Farooq, S.H.; Mishra, A.K.; Muhakud, S.K.; Acharya, P.; Muduli, P.R.; Swain, D. Effect of COVID-19 Lockdown on Metal Concentration in the Water Column of Asia’s Largest Coastal Lagoon. Preprints 2021, 2021060378 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202106.0378.v1).

Abstract

A complete halt on all anthropogenic activities and human movement due to COVID-19 lockdown has provided a great opportunity to assess the impact of human activities on coastal marine ecosystems. The current study assessed the concentration of the metals in water samples of the largest brackish water lagoon of Asia; the Chilika lagoon in the state of Odisha, India between pre-COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 lockdown scenarios. Monthly water samples (n=30 stations) from 0.3 m depth were collected from three sectors of the lagoon seasonally; pre-monsoon, monsoon, and post-monsoon. In addition to various physical parameters [pH, salinity, alkalinity, (DO) dissolved oxygen, (TDS) total dissolved solids, and (EC) electrical conductivity] the collected water samples were analysed for 18 trace metals (Al, As, Ba, Be, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, Ni, Pb, Sr, Th, Tl, U, V). Most of the physical parameters showed a significant variation between pre-and post-COVID-19 scenarios, except for pH and DO. The concentration of five metals (Be, Cd, Co, Ni, and Pb) remained below detection limits in all water samples. The impact of COVID-19 lockdown on the concentration of the metal in the water samples was noticed along with the three sectors of the lagoon. However, eight metals (Al, As, Cr, Fe, Mn, Th, U, and V) were significantly different between the COVID-19 scenarios and the remaining five metals were not statistically significant. The mean concentration of Al, As, Fe, Th, and V were higher in the pre-COVID-19 scenarios, whereas only Cr and Mn were higher in the post-COVID-19 scenarios. The mean concentration of U was similar among both COVID-19 scenarios, even though there were seasonal and sectoral differences. The seasonal influence of riverine influx was more evident on metal concentration during the monsoon season, whereas the difference between sectors was more prominent during the post-monsoon season. An increased number of correlations between physical parameters and metal concentration were observed in the post-monsoon season and post-COVID-19 scenario. This study provides evidence that the imposition of COVID-19 lockdown reduced metal influx in the water column and improved the water quality of the Chilika lagoon. Our results can be used as baseline for metal concentration in surface waters of the lagoon.

Keywords

Trace metals; COVID-19; Lagoon ecosystem; Anthropogenic pollution; Water quality; India

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