Influence of anthropogenic activities on microbial and nutrient levels along the Mara River tributaries, Kenya

Anyona, Douglas Nyambane; Dida, Gabriel Owino; Abuom, Paul Otieno; Onyuka, Jackson Odhiambo; Matano, Ally-Said; Kanangire, Canisius Kabungo; Opiyo Ofulla, Ayub Victor
January 2014
EurAsian Journal of Biosciences;2014, Vol. 8, p1
Academic Journal
Background: A number of factors impact negatively on natural surface water resources across the world. Although sources of surface water pollution are numerous, anthropogenic activities have been singled out as among the most important and of great concern. The aim of this study was to assess the influence of anthropogenic activities on nutrients and microbial levels along the Amala and Nyangores tributaries of the Mara River in Kenya. Materials and Methods: Four sampling sites along each tributary were specifically selected from which water samples were collected and analyzed for nutrients by use of spectrophotometric techniques, and coliform bacterial presence by a multiple tube fermentation technique. Results: Higher levels of total phosphorus were recorded along the Nyangores than the Amala tributary (P= 0.02). Significant differences in phosphorus levels were recorded between different sites along the Nyangores tributary (P⩽0.001) and also along the Amala tributary (P= 0.0036). However, total nitrogen levels varied only within sites along the Nyangores tributary (P<0.0001) but not along the Amala tributary. Similarly, Escherichia coli and total coliform levels varied significantly within Nyangores tributary sites. Sites with frequent and direct human and livestock contact had higher microbial and nutrient levels, indicative of a localized pollution effect. Conclusions: The findings imply that the health of local communities who depend on this water for domestic use might be compromised. As such, regular monitoring, strict enforcement of environmental protection laws, public education and proper sewage disposal is recommended.


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