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Trace metal contamination of Uganda’s Lake Victoria basin

Science | Researchers
Research Spotlight: Trace metal contamination of Uganda’s Lake Victoria basin

Research shows that anthropogenic contamination of environmental waters in the Lake Victoria basin presents a risk to drinking water sources and the wider environment.


A research article published in Journal of Environmental and Public Health has revealed elevated levels of trace metals in environmental waters in the Lake Victoria basin sub-catchment areas caused by anthropogenic contamination.

Heavy metal pollution of aquatic systems is a problem around the world, and particularly in developing countries where demand for freshwater is increasing each year. It is therefore important to carry out adequate monitoring and risk assessments of drinking water sources in these countries to inform environmental health policy and remediation action.

ed by G. K. Bakyayita from KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden and Makerere University, Uganda, an international team of researchers sampled shallow groundwater, surface water, landfill leachate, and surface run-off from rural and urban sites in the Lake Victoria basin catchment area. The samples were analyzed for levels of trace metals, toxicity, and speciation of elements and compared to water quality guidelines from WHO (World Health Organization), Uganda, Sweden, and Canada.

The levels of trace metals found in surface water, landfill leachate, and surface runoff showed anthropogenic contamination. Toxicity studies showed potential environmental risks in selected surface water and shallow groundwater sources requiring further detailed risk assessments to inform policy on appropriate action. The authors express concerns about the negative effect that continued discharge of untreated surface runoff, wastewater, and landfill leachate will have on the shallow groundwater during the wet season. They recommend a range of intervention measures, including legislature enforcement, monitoring, and wastewater treatment to limit environmental water contamination.

Read the full article here >>


This blog post is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY). Illustration by David Jury.

Article of the Year Award: Outstanding research contributions of 2020, as selected by our Chief Editors. Read the winning articles.