Variations in the contents of heavy metals in arable soils of a major urban wetland inlet drainage system of Lake Victoria, Uganda
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Little is known about the effects of urbanization on the chemical quality of soils in suburban wetland inlet drainage systems to the Uganda side of Lake Victoria, on which food crops are extensively grown. It is feared that pollution in the soils might eventually enter food chains through such crops being consumed by urban populations unaware of their occurrence. Soil samples were collected from cultivated areas of a major wetland drainage system (Nakivubo Channel), at Kampala, Ubanda, near Lake Victoria and from a rural control wetland site (Senge). The soil from this site had similar properties as those from the urban test site (i.e., soil texture; porosity; humus content). Analysis of heavy metals with atomic absorption spectrophotometry (AAS) yielded the following soil concentration ranges: manganese (190–780), cadmium (<0.001–1.0), zinc (6.0–10.0) and lead (10–20 mg kg)1) dry weight for the control site, and 450–900, 1.0–2.0, 131– 185, 40–60 mg kg)1 dry weight, respectively, for the urban wetland, indicative of relatively heavy metal pollution in the suburban drainage system. Heavy metal levels in cocoyam (Colocasia Esculenta) and sugarcane (Saccharum Officinarum) grown on both wetland soils also were evaluated via AAS with a modified wet-acid-digestion technique. The results highlighted high cadium and lead levels (P £ 0.0003) in the crops from urban wetland cultivation. Cadmium and lead concentrations in cocoyam from urban wetland soils exceeded those from the control site by 0.17 and 3.54 mg kg)1, respectively. The corresponding results for sugarcane indicated a similar increase of 0.56 and 2.14 mg kg)1 of juice extract. Cadmium and lead levels in both urban wetland crops were higher than the maximum permissible limits of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, indicating that these concentrations pose potential health risks to urban consumers, and call for early counter-measures to combat urban pollution entering the lake.
- Natural Sciences