The Impact of Anthropogenic Activities and Water Pollution on the Fish Diversity and Ecosystem Health of the Chenab River in the Punjab Region of Pakistan

Main Article Content

Ahad Masood Hahshmi
Zakria Abdullah
Tabassum Amjad
Ghazanfer Ali
Tehreem Iqbal


Background: The Chenab River, a major waterway in the Punjab region, is subject to various anthropogenic activities that threaten its ecological integrity. Industrial discharges, agricultural runoff, and urbanization have altered the water quality and affected the river's fish diversity, raising concerns about the long-term health of the river's ecosystem and its implications for human health.

Objective: This study aimed to quantify the impact of human activities and water pollution on fish diversity and ecosystem health in the Chenab River. It sought to identify significant pollutants and assess their correlations with ecological indicators.

Methods: A comprehensive quantitative analysis was conducted using secondary data spanning ten years. Descriptive statistics were calculated for various environmental parameters, including industrial discharge, agricultural runoff, urbanization rate, water pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and concentrations of heavy metals, nitrates, and phosphates. Correlation and regression analyses were employed to explore the relationships between these parameters and fish species richness and abundance.

Results: The study revealed a mean industrial discharge of 584.43 tonnes and agricultural runoff of 290.82 tonnes. Water quality parameters fluctuated with a mean pH of 7.65 and dissolved oxygen levels averaging 8.38 mg/L. Fish species richness exhibited a mean of 49.30 with a standard deviation of 20.842, while fish abundance had a mean of 3089.16 with a standard deviation of 1256.84. Regression analysis showed dissolved oxygen as a significant predictor of fish abundance (p = .051), whereas turbidity and heavy metals had a negative impact, though not statistically significant (p = .100 and p = .092, respectively).

Conclusion: The Chenab River's fish diversity and ecosystem health are influenced by anthropogenic pollution, with dissolved oxygen emerging as a critical factor for maintaining fish populations. The findings suggest a need for targeted environmental regulations to improve water quality and protect aquatic life, which is inextricably linked to human health and livelihoods.

Article Details

How to Cite
Hahshmi, A. M., Abdullah , Z., Amjad, T., Ali, G., & Iqbal, T. (2024). The Impact of Anthropogenic Activities and Water Pollution on the Fish Diversity and Ecosystem Health of the Chenab River in the Punjab Region of Pakistan. Journal of Health and Rehabilitation Research, 4(1), 554–560.
Author Biographies

Ahad Masood Hahshmi, University Of Central Punjab (Gujrat Campus) Pakistan.


Zakria Abdullah , Punjab Group of Colleges Gujrat Pakistan.

Lecturer Biology

Tabassum Amjad, University Of Central Punjab (Gujrat Campus) Pakistan.

Visiting Lecturer (Zoology Department)

Ghazanfer Ali, Universiti Malaya Malaysia

Ph.D student

Tehreem Iqbal, Superior College Gujranwala Pakistan.



Yasmeen R, Rafique S. Assessment of Heavy Metals in Different Organs of Wallago Attu and Sperata seenghala at Different Sites of River Chenab, Pakistan. 2024.

Mehmood K, Tischbein B, Mahmood R, Borgemeister C, Flörke M, Akhtar F. Analysing and evaluating environmental flows through hydrological methods in the regulated Indus River Basin. Ecohydrology. 2024:e2624.

Ahmad I, Gul I, Irum S, Manzoor M, Arshad M. Accumulation of heavy metals in wild plants collected from the industrial sites—potential for phytoremediation. International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology. 2023;20(5):5441-52.

Haq AU, Muhammad S. Spatial distribution of heavy metals contamination and risk indices evaluation in sediments of Indus River and its tributaries, Pakistan. Geocarto International. 2022;37(25):9408-24.

Liu S, Liu Y, Yang D, Li C, Zhao Y, Ma H, et al. Trace elements in shellfish from Shenzhen, China: Implication of coastal water pollution and human exposure. Environmental Pollution. 2020;263:114582.

Sharma R, Kumar R, Sharma DK, Sarkar M, Mishra BK, Puri V, et al. Water pollution examination through quality analysis of different rivers: a case study in India. Environment, Development and Sustainability. 2022;24(6):7471-92.

Ali H, Khan E. Assessment of potentially toxic heavy metals and health risk in water, sediments, and different fish species of River Kabul, Pakistan. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment: An International Journal. 2018;24(8):2101-18.

Ahmed M, Mumtaz R, Hassan Zaidi SM. Analysis of water quality indices and machine learning techniques for rating water pollution: A case study of Rawal Dam, Pakistan. Water Supply. 2021;21(6):3225-50.

Makubura R, Meddage D, Azamathulla HM, Pandey M, Rathnayake U. A Simplified Mathematical Formulation for Water Quality Index (WQI): A Case Study in the Kelani River Basin, Sri Lanka. Fluids. 2022;7(5):147.

Riaz R, Rehman MYA, Junaid M, Iqbal T, Khan JA, Dong Y, et al. First insights into per-and polyfluoroalkyl substance contamination in edible fish species of the Indus water system of Pakistan. Chemosphere. 2024;349:140970.

Irwin A, Geschke A, Mackenbach JP. The Biodiversity Impact of Health Care: Quantifying the Extinction-Risk Footprint of Health Care in The Netherlands and Other European Countries. Sustainability. 2024;16(3):1343.

Batool R, Mahmood K, Ahmad S, Naeem M. Geographic scenario of drinking water quality of Lahore Metropolitan, Pakistan, in response to urbanization and water demand: a GIS perspective. Applied Ecology & Environmental Research. 2019;17(2).

Gayathri S, Krishnan KA, Krishnakumar A, Maya TV, Dev VV, Antony S, et al. Monitoring of heavy metal contamination in Netravati river basin: overview of pollution indices and risk assessment. Sustainable Water Resources Management. 2021;7(2):20.

Iqbal MM, Shoaib M, Agwanda P, Lee JL. Modeling approach for water-quality management to control pollution concentration: A case study of Ravi River, Punjab, Pakistan. Water. 2018;10(8):1068.

Kabir MH, Tusher TR, Hossain MS, Islam MS, Shammi RS, Kormoker T, et al. Evaluation of spatio-temporal variations in water quality and suitability of an ecologically critical urban river employing water quality index and multivariate statistical approaches: a study on Shitalakhya river, Bangladesh. Human and ecological risk assessment: an international journal. 2020;27(5):1388-415.

Khan M. Impact of urbanization on water resources of Pakistan: a review. NUST Journal of Engineering Sciences. 2019;12(1):1-8.

Mahfooz Y, Yasar A, Sohail MT, Tabinda AB, Rasheed R, Irshad S, et al. Investigating the drinking and surface water quality and associated health risks in a semi-arid multi-industrial metropolis (Faisalabad), Pakistan. Environmental Science and Pollution Research. 2019;26:20853-65.

Matta G, Kumar A, Nayak A, Kumar P, Kumar A, Naik PK, et al. Assessing heavy metal index referencing health risk in Ganga River System. International Journal of River Basin Management. 2023;21(4):759-69.

Kumar P, Kumar R, Thakur K, Mahajan D, Brar B, Sharma D, et al. Impact of pesticides application on aquatic ecosystem and biodiversity: a review. Biology Bulletin. 2023;50(6):1362-75.

Afzaal M, Hameed S, Liaqat I, Ali Khan AA, abdul Manan H, Shahid R, et al. Heavy metals contamination in water, sediments and fish of freshwater ecosystems in Pakistan. Water Practice & Technology. 2022;17(5):1253-72.

Kumar R, Singh CK, Misra S, Singh BP, Bhardwaj AK, Chandra K. Water biodiversity: ecosystem services, threats, and conservation. Biodiversity and Bioeconomy: Elsevier; 2024. p. 347-80.

Narwal S, Kaur M, Yadav DS, Bast F. Sustainable blue economy: Opportunities and challenges. Journal of Biosciences. 2024;49(1):18.