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A longitudinal study was conducted to assess the impact of pollution by a Sugar-Mill Company, and the effects of domestic wastes on the water quality of the Mingoala River in Mbandjock, Cameroon. Over a period of twelve months, bimonthly field samples were collected and analyzed for a number of physico-chemical and bacteriological parameters. Study results indicated that the Mingoala River is the subject of an industrial pollution which is essentially organic in nature. Except for ammonia-N, chloride, nitrite and temperature, statistical analysis revealed significant differences between the mean values of all physical and chemical parameters studied downstream of the point of confluence between the wastestream and the river, as compared to data collected upstream. Such differences were also recorded in bacteriological assessments, with significantly higher counts of bacteria downstream, indicating a microbial contamination associated with poor sanitary conditions. The consequences of this pollution are numerous and include: 1) Degradation of downstream water quality; 2) Disappearance of fish, and appearance of disease vectors; 3) Public health impact associated with nocuous odor, and waterborne illnesses. In order to prevent future ecological damage, appropriate steps should be taken to treat the plant effluents before their discharge into receiving streams, and to educate the Mbandjock population on the cost-effectiveness of sanitation in disease prevention. In this regard, practical recommendations are made on specific pollution-prevention strategies for this community.
industrial and municipal pollution, water quality, ecological and human health
Associate professor and director, School of Science and Technology, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS