The paper presents the first document to identify the enrichment pattern of acid leachable trace metals (ALTMs) such as Fe, Mn, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, Cd, Co, Mo, Ag, As and Ba and their relationship with sediment quality parameters (pH, organic carbon, carbonates and texture) in core sediments (<63 μm particle size) from Indian Sunderban mangrove wetland, formed at the estuarine phase of the river Hugli (Ganges). Textural analysis reveals an overall predominance of mud. The results indicate that the change in pH values causes coagulation and precipitation of ALTMs. Fe and Mn have fairly close distribution patterns of enrichment in surface layers which might be ascribed to early diagnetic processes. The most prominent feature of ALTMs is the enrichment of Fe, Mn, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Ba in the surface-subsurface layers in the sediment cores, which is mainly attributed to the intense industrial and agricultural activities as well as drainage of untreated domestic sewage to this coastal region. The ALTMs also indicate their association with organic carbon and Fe-Mn oxyhydroxides. The enrichment is well-supported by the correlation, grouping and clustering of ALTMs in statistical analyses. Anthropogenic Factor values indicated ALTMs enrichment for all trace metals due to intense anthropogenic activities. Overall higher values of ALTMs in sediments in comparison to other Indian coastal regions indicate that they are mainly due to the uncontrolled anthropogenic activities in this mangrove estuarine complex. Statistical analyses suggest that five ALTMs (Cu, Pb, As, Mo, Ba) are attached to the organic particles and the clustering of elements separately also indicates that they are from external source. The result of the present study suggests the need for a regular monitoring program which will help to improve the quality of this potential wetland. © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.