Levels of mercury and lead in selected rivers in the Kumasi metropolis

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JUNE, 2019
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The main environmental problem facing Kumasi is pollution of water bodies. Many people in the developing world depend on water from rivers and streams for survival. However, urbanisation, industrialisation, improper waste management and agriculture are negatively affecting many rivers, especially in the urban areas. The study determined levels of mercury and lead in river water and sediment of the Aboabo and Wewe rivers in the Kumasi Metropolis in the Ashanti Region. The Cold Vapor Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer was used to determine the concentration of mercury while the Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer was used to determine the concentration of lead in both rivers. Water and sediment samples were taken from four communities along each of the two rivers and compared with the WHO health based guideline values for polluted sites. Levels of mercury and lead were higher in the Aboabo River specifically, in the Anloga community. Levels of mercury and lead were lower in the Wewe River when compared to the WHO and USEPA standards. The Aboabo River is polluted with heavy metals such as mercury and lead because scrap metal fabrication works, electronic waste and refuse dumps are situated in their watersheds. Farmers use water from the Wewe to irrigate their farms. The cumulative nature of mercury and lead even in small quantities poses threat to living organisms. Water bodies in the city should be effectively managed to prevent carcinogenic and neurotoxic effects in humans when cattle and farm produce are consumed.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Environmental Science, College of Science, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of The Master of Science Degree in Environmental Science.
Water pollution, Mercury, Lead, Kumasi metropolis