This study presents spatial distribution, sources and toxicological risks of As, Cr, Cu, Hg, Ni, Pb, and Zn in the surface sediments from north-western Karnataka, southern India. Heavy metals (except Hg) are 1-5 times enriched than upper continental crust. High concentration of Cr, Ni, Cu, and Zn is in the central Kudalgaon, Devarayi, and Tavargatti and in the south-western Ganeshgudi area, whereas Arsenic is enriched in the north-eastern Alnavar, Kakkeri,Tavargatti and Pb, and Hg in the north-western Kapoli, Devarayi, Manjarpal villages. The ecological risk index, toxic risk index, and mean probable-effects-levels quotient of heavy metals suggest that ~ 40% of the area is prone to very high risk especially for Cr and As to the hydrological, biological, and ecological systems. Multivariate statistical analysis suggests possible geogenic sources for Ni, Cr, Cu, and Zn and anthropogenic sources such as emissions from vehicles and agricultural sectors for As, Hg, and Pb. This study is the first of its kind in the area, which will help, in better formulation of environmental pollution and risk related remedial measures to conserve the natural ecosystem and the well-being of humans.
© 2022. The Author(s).