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Rivers of South Asia carry dissolved inorganic phosphorus (DIP) at levels far greater than many of the world’s rivers such as the Amazon River and European rivers on whose phosphorus data average rates of DIP exported to the oceans are largely based. Similarly, all the major river systems in South Asia have sedimentary phosphorus values that are considerably higher than the world average. Unlike the Amazon or other large river system for which extensive data are available, organic phosphorus contributes very little to the total sedimentary phosphorus pool in South Asian rivers. Trapping of enormous amounts of sediment in the vast alluvial belts in the northern part of South Asia indicate that very little of the sedimentary phosphorus transported by these rivers is likely to be exported to the adjacent marine environment.

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