Phytoremediation, which is the use of water-loving plants, proposed over 300 years ago has gained explicit acceptance as a more prolific approach towards the removal and uptake of organic and heavy metals pollutants. Metals gain access into water bodies through natural geochemical weathering of rocks and various indiscriminate human activities which includes waste generated from mining industries, urban runoff, electroplating, batteries etc. Pollution of aquatic environment by organic pollutant occurs through various pathway either naturally by aquatic microorganism like 2-methylisoborneol and geosmin or by uncontrolled discharge of industrial waste or chemicals containing organic chemicals and its related products such as hormones, plasticizer, insect repellents, UV filters, Surfactant, NSAIDs, Antibiotics, herbicides, lubricants, fuel combustion by product, volatile organic compounds, chlorinated solvents, perchlorate, pharmaceutical drugs and other metabolites. For effective phytoremediation of metals and organic pollutants by aquatic plants, the following processes should be observed: recognition and execution of effective aquatic plant systems; concentration and uptake of the contaminants by the aquatic macrophytes; harvesting and profitable use of the plants. Generally, there are seven basic mechanisms or strategies involved in the phytoremediation of contaminants, these include: Phytoextraction, Phytodegradation, Phytofiltration, Phytostabilization, Phytovolatilization, Rhizodegradation and Phytodesalination. This work presented in details how aquatic plants can be used to phytoremediate heavy metals and organic pollutants present in aquatic environments. This review clearly elucidated the sources and effects of water pollution on aquatic organisms as well as humans, and the use of phytoremediation techniques involving aquatic macro– and microphytes such as algae, duckweed, water hyacinth, water lettuce, water fern, Canna indica L. to get rid of these pollutants from the aquatic environment while ensuring that water quality parameters are maintained in the process.
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