Heavy Metal Contaminated Water, Soils and Crops in Peri Urban Wastewater Irrigation Farming in Mufulira and Kafue Towns in Zambia

Evaristo Mwaba Kapungwe

Abstract


Although research on peri urban arable farming had been conducted in Zambia, the concerns related to heavy metal contaminated wastewater use in crop farming in peri urban areas were inadequately tackled. The study investigated heavy metal contamination of water, soils and crops at two study sites in Zambia. The two study sites were New Farm Extension in Mufulira and Chilumba Gardens in Kafue. Heavy metals comprising chromium (Cr), cobalt (Co), copper (Cu), lead (Pb) and nickel (Ni) were investigated due to: (i) their presence in wastewater used to irrigate crops which were found to be higher than acceptable limits; (ii) their potential negative effects on human health when ingested in large quantities; (iii) their implications on the livelihoods of people. Samples of water, soil and crops were collected and analysed for lead, copper, chromium, cobalt and nickel using the Atomic Absorption Spectrometer (AAS). The data on heavy metals was analysed using mean, standard error and T-test. The results indicated that heavy metals were present in the water, soil and crops at the two study sites and exceeded acceptable limits. It can be argued that wastewater, soil and crops were contaminated with heavy metals at the two peri-urban areas in Zambia. The study highlighted the problem of heavy metal contaminated crops consumed by peri urban population. The information this study can be used in the planning and development of safe agricultural farming systems in peri urban areas in Zambia.

Full Text: PDF DOI: 10.5539/jgg.v5n2p55

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Journal of Geography and Geology   ISSN 1916-9779 (Print)   ISSN 1916-9787 (Online)

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