Considerations for environmental biogeochemistry and food security for aquaculture around Lake Victoria, Kenya

Marriott, A.L.; Osano, O.F.; Coffey, T. .; Humphrey, O.S.; Ongore, C.O.; Watts, M.J.; Aura, C.M.. 2023 Considerations for environmental biogeochemistry and food security for aquaculture around Lake Victoria, Kenya. Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 45. 6137-6162.

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The impact of population expansion through economic growth and development has been identified as one of the key drivers of both water and sediment contamination from potentially harmful elements (PHEs). This presents a major hazard not only to aquatic ecosystems but local riparian communities and beyond who rely heavily on this natural resource for drinking water and fish—a valuable source of dietary micronutrients and protein. The present study measured biogeochemical concentration of PHEs in water, sediment and fish from locations pooled into four zones within Winam Gulf and Lake Victoria area of Kenya. Captured fish were used as a sentinel receptor of lake health to evaluate potential risks to fisheries and aquaculture food security. In water, concentrations of arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu) and lead (Pb) were observed above the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) maximum contamination level drinking water guidelines (MCL), with aluminium (Al) observed above the Aquatic Life Criteria in all four zones. Similarly, sediment concentrations in all four zones exceeded the US EPA Effects range low (ERL) threshold guidelines for Cu, nickel (Ni), zinc (Zn) and Pb, with Cu, Zn and Pb classed at moderate contamination levels using the contamination factor. Fish tissue concentrations from the four zones were calculated using recommended daily intakes (RDI) and for PHEs as provisional maximum tolerable intakes (PMTIs) and indicated most macro- and micronutrients were at or below 10% RDI from aquaculture and wild fish, with Se indicating a greater RDI (16–29%) in all the zones. Contributions of PHEs to PMTIs were below threshold guidelines for both aquaculture and wild fish with only Cd, Cr and Pb levels being above the PMTI thresholds. There is a need to assess the long-term effects of persistent anthropogenic PHE input into Winam Gulf and the wider Lake Victoria basin. Continued monitoring of PHEs using both historical and more recent data will enable future management policies to be implemented through improved mitigation strategies to reduce their impact on water quality, fish health and subsequent human health.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0269-4042
Additional Keywords: IGRD
Date made live: 06 Jun 2023 12:56 +0 (UTC)

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