ASCERTAINING THE QUALITY OF WATER FOR IRRIGATION AND ITS IMPACT ON VEGETABLE QUALITY: A CASE STUDY ALONG THE BIBINI RIVER IN KUMASI
Journal: Environment & Ecosystem Science (EES)
Author: Gifty Kyeame, Bennetta Koomson, Elias K. Asiam
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
Farmers in peri-urban areas use diluted wastewater for irrigation. Over time, heavy metals may accumulate in agricultural soils and food crops causing health problems when consumed. Physicochemical, heavy metals (cadmium, lead and chromium) and microbial analysis of water, soil and vegetables were conducted to ascertain the quality of water and vegetables using standard methods. The results of the study showed that the water quality indicators; dissolved oxygen, biochemical oxygen demand and water temperature were not within the recommended standards of Ghana’s Environmental Protection Agency. The presence of heavy metals in the water, soil and vegetables were in the order of; soil (1.47 ± 0.017 of cadmium, 0.0019 ± 0.00011 of chromium and 0.541 ± 0.017 of lead) > vegetable (1.472 ± 0.044 of cadmium, 0.0020 ± 0.00010 of chromium and 0.474 ± 0.021 of lead) > water (0.068 ± 0.009 of cadmium, 0.0047 ± 0.00037 of chromium and 0.110 ± 0.014 of lead). Cadmium, chromium and lead concentrations in soil, vegetables and water varied significantly. Cadmium and lead concentrations as well as coliform counts in water and vegetables exceeded Food and Agriculture Organization/ World Health Organization’s maximum permissible levels. Soil samples from the control site showed almost negligible concentrations of heavy metals (0.00017 mg/kg of cadmium, 0.00014 mg/kg of chromium and 0.0011 mg/kg of lead) whereas farm sites had heavy metals as a result of long-term wastewater irrigation. Cadmium and lead concentrations in the water and vegetables makes them toxic and microbial populations of faecal coliform in water and lettuce indicated faecal contamination. Therefore, the quality of vegetables produced using the Bibini river is low and unsafe for human consumption.