Organchlorine pesticides residue levels in cabbage, soil and irrigation water in some farming communities in Accra

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Indiscriminate use of pesticides in controlling pests of agricultural crops has been of great concern. This study investigated the residue levels of Organochlorine (OC) in cabbage, soil, irrigation water and waterbed sediments of the Oyansia stream passing through Dzorwulu and Opeibea in Accra, Ghana using gas chromatography. A questionnaire was administered to farmers along the stream to gather information on the level of understanding of the causes and effects of OC pollution. Results showed that with the exception of P,P-DDT that occurred at 0.18 µg/I (0.03 µg/I less than the WHO guideline value) in upstream soil, levels of all other pesticide components were higher at downstream than upstream and were statistically significant (p < 0.001) for HCB, Lindane, P,P’-DDD, Chlorpyrifos-ethyl, γ - endosulfan, and Endosulfan sulphate but not for P-P’-DDE, P,P’-DDT, Chlorpyrifos-ethyl, HCH and β- endosulfan . The survey revealed that farmers relied heavily on synthetic insecticides for insect pest control. These insecticides were applied in various concoctions, at different application rates and at short intervals disregarding the prescribed pre-harvest intervals. Most farmers believed that the oral route of exposure was the most dangerous and needed to be avoided at all cost but not the contact and inhalation routes and therefore did not take adequate precautions against their occurrence. Intensified health education program that takes into account farmers’ beliefs and perceptions about insecticides and also aims at promoting greater understanding of the use of OC and the causes and effects of pollution associated with its abuse is very much needed.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Materials Engineering of the College of Engineering, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science, in Environmental Resources Management,