Pesticide Contamination of Vegetable Farms along the Onyasia Stream in Ga East Municipality Greater Accra Region, Ghana

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The use of pesticides in controlling pests of different types is one of the essential measures of modern agricultural practices. However, the residue resulting from misapplication of pesticides on vegetables is a crucial concern not only to the people of Ghana but the international community at large. The ill-health effect on humans can be minimised to a great extent if the residues are kept below the prescribed maximum residue level, a standard set by the EC. A number of pesticide residues in vegetables were studied in three communities in the Ga East Municipality in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana for a period of nine months. Vegetables produced along the Onyasia Stream were used as samples. A total of 120 fresh vegetables (carrot, lettuce and cabbage) were sampled for the study due to their commercial importance and potential consumption. All samples were taken in accordance with the guidelines of the European Union (EU) (European Commission, 1979); which means that as far as possible the samples were taken at various distributed places throughout the lot. The vegetables were subjected to extraction, SPE, clean up and analysed by Gas Chromatograph Electronic Capture Detector for pesticide residues mainly organo chlorines. The results obtained revealed that most of the vegetables analysed contain residues of the monitored pesticides above the accepted maximum residue level. However some pesticides were not detected in all the vegetable samples. The results obtained showed that 54.2% of the vegetable samples were above the MRL and 45.8% were below the standard. Most vegetables are consumed fresh or slightly cooked and as such intensive vegetable production threatens public health from pesticide dimensions. Standard measures to address this situation would require mass sensitisation and regulations. Education of the farmers to follow strictly label instructions is also essential.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Environmental Science