The Open Environmental Engineering Journal


ISSN: 1874-8295 ― Volume 7, 2014

Heavy Metals Inflow into Lake Muhazi, Rwanda

The Open Environmental Engineering Journal, 2012, 5: 56-65

I. Nhapi, U. G. Wali, D. Usanzineza, N. Banadda, J. J. Kashaigili, R. Kimwaga, W. Gumindoga, S. Sendagi

Department of Civil Engineering, University of Zimbabwe, Box MP167, Mt. Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe.

Electronic publication date 13/7/2012
[DOI: 10.2174/1874829501205010056]


Most tropical African lakes are facing pollution problems due to the rapid population growth and industrialization in their riparian communities. Lake Muhazi in Rwanda is one of such lakes which has experienced a dramatic decrease in fish production since the eighties, with also reports of low water transparencies and high turbidities. The lakeshores are now being developed for ecotourism and this requires sound environmental management to make the planned activities viable. The purpose of this study was to assess heavy metal pollution in the tributary rivers of Lake Muhazi. The concentration of heavy metals in major tributaries was monitored for the period July to October 2007. The parameters studied are cadmium, chromium, copper, iron, lead, manganese, zinc, pH and temperature. Fourteen sampling stations on the Inflow Rivers and the spillway were monitored fortnightly. The samples collected for heavy metal analysis were preserved and stored in cooler boxes and analyzed in the laboratory using Standard Methods. Temperature and pH were measured in the field using HACH field testing kits. The concentration (mean ± standard deviation) of Zn was found to be 0.040±0.103 mg/L, Cd 0.031±0.007 mg/L, Pb 0.487±0.452 mg/L, Fe 7.53±13.34 mg/L, Mn 1.01±1.31 mg/L, chromium 0 mg/L and copper 0 mg/L. The concentrations of measured parameters deviate much from the recommended ones thus posing serious problems to aquatic life. It has also been shown that the high metal concentration levels in Lake Muhazi are related to landuse activities in the catchment. It is thus recommended that farming practices and erosion be controlled in the catchment to contain pollutant discharges into the lake. Lead is the main anthropogenic pollutant which has been found in the watershed of Lake Muhazi.

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