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Pharmaceutical pollution in irrigation water: A Minor Field Study in Chirapatre Estates in Kumasi, Ghana
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In Ghana, wastewater is frequently used as a source of irrigation water for crops in urban areas, due to water scarcity and an increasing population growth. The water contains high amounts of nutrients, but also other unwanted constituents such as heavy metals, pathogens and pharmaceutical residues and is a potential health risk for the consumers. This study aimed to determine the status of pharmaceutical pollution in irrigation water used in Chirapatre Estates, a suburb to Kumasi, Ghana. Chirapatre Estates is located on a hill sloping towards a stream, with a network of sewer lines connected to a Waste Stabilization Pond (WSP).

Problems regarding disposal of pharmaceutical waste, frequently used medications in the area and water quality of irrigation water was analyzed through interviews and water analysis. The interviews were made with households, farmers and pharmacies and the water samples were collected at farms and the maturation pond, the final treatment in the WSP. The analysis focused on the water quality parameters; pH, Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), Total Suspended Solids (TSS), total phosphorus, phosphate, total nitrogen and nitrate.

The empirical study showed high use of malaria treatment medication and paracetamol for adults as well as children. No instructions of disposal of unused medications were expressed through the pharmacy or by the government, causing the majority of the inhabitants to dispose their leftovers in the trash. One can speculate that there might be a possible risk of finding some pharmaceutical residues in the aquatic environment, especially for the types of pharmaceuticals that can be persistent. The results indicated that the water quality from the WSP and at the farming sites was acceptable when compared to the Ghana Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines, except for TSS and total phosphorus. Further treatment of the water is still suggested, since adjacent farms use the water frequently and the EPA guidelines are not fulfilled. Future studies are recommended to establish the pharmaceutical residues present in the stream water.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 39 p.
Keyword [en]
Pharmaceutical residues, wastewater, irrigation, water quality
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-244849OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-244849DiVA: diva2:789999
External cooperation
International Water Management Institute Ghana
Educational program
Master Programme in Environmental and Water Engineering
2014-10-24, Skåne, Geocentrum, Villavägen 16, Uppsala, 11:15 (English)
Available from: 2015-02-22 Created: 2015-02-22 Last updated: 2015-11-20Bibliographically approved

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