The work investigated concentration of trace metals in surface sediments (0-10cm; < 63μm grain size) from 15 sampling sites of diverse environmental stresses covering Hugli River Estuary (HRE) and Sundarban Mangrove Wetland (SMW), eastern coastal part of India. The trace metal concentrations in sediments exhibited an overall decreasing trend as follows: Cr (21.2-60.9)>Cu (11.60-102.47)>Ni (19.10-52.60)>Pb (7.09-183.88)>As (4.41-11.46)>Cd (0.02-4.4)>Ag (0.02-0.87). Both the geo-accumulation index (Igeo) and contamination factor (CF) values revealed significant pollution by Ag, Cd and Pb at Nurpur of HRE. Potential Ecological Risk Index (RI) (61.21±112.40) showed wide range of variations from low (19.76) to serious (463.20) ecological risk. A positive significant correlation was found between metals and organic carbon in sediments. The ecological risk associated with the trace metals in sediment was considered on the consensus based Sediment Quality Guidelines (SQGs). The work suggests that the trace metals present in sediments posed adverse effects on the sediment-dwelling organisms. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.