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Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 2000 Apr;38(3):334-41.

Environmental monitoring of the kafue river, located in the Copperbelt, Zambia.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 750 07 Uppsala, Sweden.

Abstract

Zambia is a country with an extensive mining industry with the majority of mines located in the Copperbelt province. Through this region of the country, the Kafue River drains and receives effluent water from mining activities as well as from other industrial point sources. In addition, production of agricultural products and pest control requires use of different pesticides in the area. Information on industrial and agricultural pollution has not been clearly identified in Zambia, and little attention has been paid to pollution control and possible impact of metals, pesticides, and other persistent compounds in the environment. The objective of this study was to introduce and to evaluate a few methodologies based on in situ bioassays for environmental assessment to promote sustainable and environmentally sound water resource management of the Kafue River. The results show that caged threespot tilapia exposed downstream of industrial points sources rapidly bioaccumulate several trace elements, i.e., Cd, Co, Cu, Cr, Ni. These elements also occurred in much higher concentrations in water samples downstream of the industrial area compared with a locality upstream. Furthermore, the use of a semipermeable membrane device (SPMD) for passive absorption of lipophilic pollutants in the water showed relatively high concentration of several pesticides, i.e., DDT with major metabolites, PCB, and dieldrin. The present study shows that only 2 weeks of in situ studies in waters contaminated by pollutants affects in situ exposed fish and that the correlation between water and tissue concentrations was relatively good. Both trace elements and persistent organic pollutants occurred in such high concentrations that they must be considered from ecotoxicological aspects and may affect aquatic animal health.

PMID:
10667931
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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