Mosses are useful biological indicators of environmental contamination for a variety of metals originated from natural and artificial sources. The research aims on recent changes in air quality and estimate the atmospheric metal deposition and its seasonal/annual trend by using passive biomonitoring technique. The level of Cu, Cd, Zn and Pb was estimated in samples of the Rhodobryum giganteum (Schwaegr.) Par., from Mukteshwar, Nainital, Almora and Pithoragarh of Kumaon and Chamba, Mussoorie, Dhanaulti and Kampty Fall of Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, India.
The study considers the level and possible sources of atmospheric pollutants in catchment sites and their effect on naturally growing moss. The moss samples were collected from each season consist of fourth month i.e., winter, summer and monsoon from equi-distances during years 2008 to 2012. The high metal content was found at Nainital (Kumaon) and Mussoorie (Garhwal) due to heavy traffic activity.
The results showed that the collected moss species was capable of successfully delineating the expected differences in atmospheric metal deposition within the study area. The metal deposition loads were recorded in the order of Zn > Pb > Cu > Cd during the five years study period. A general increasing metal deposition trend was also observed, i.e., annual average (over seasons) metal loads in 2012 increased when compared with their loads in 2008. Development is almost always accompanied with negative changes in air quality and adverse impacts of air pollution on human health, agricultural production and natural ecosystems that need to monitor and do mitigate, therefore, such investigations is highly demanded. Present information will be very helpful for environmentalist/policy makers in making effective strategies to mitigate the environment related problems.