Health hazards due to pollution of waters along the coast of Visakhapatnam, east coast of India

Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2003 Nov;56(3):390-7. doi: 10.1016/s0147-6513(03)00098-8.


Environmental pollution that renders waters along the coastline and beaches unsatisfactory for use by the general public has become a global health problem. This study was conducted to examine the effects of pollution of beach waters and sediment at seven selected locations receiving land drainage along a 45-km stretch of the east coast near Visakhapatnam, India. Pathogenic bacteria were identified using standard methods of culturing on selective media. The Pollution Index (PI) was determined as the ratio of fecal coliform/fecal streptococci. Protozoan cysts and helminth ova were also identified by microscopic examination of water after appropriate staining. The results suggested that the beach waters in Visakhapatnam are hygienically poor. A high PI of the water in Lawson's Bay indicated that the water was unsuitable even for noncontact recreation (boating, etc.). Pathogen densities dissipated considerably from the source to the low tide mark. Sediments had significantly higher bacterial and protozoan populations but pathogen concentrations were low except in heavily used areas. The general distribution pattern suggests that the nature of the sediment has a significant role in the retention of bacteria, protozoan cysts, and soil-transmitted helminths.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Enterobacteriaceae / isolation & purification
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Eukaryota / isolation & purification
  • Geologic Sediments / chemistry*
  • Helminths / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • India
  • Oocysts
  • Public Health*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Water Microbiology*
  • Water Pollutants / poisoning*


  • Water Pollutants