Title: Determination of mercury, arsenic, cadmium, copper, cyanide, lead and zinc in water bodies Nangodi a small – scale mining community in the Nabdam District, Upper East Region, Ghana
Authors and Affiliations: Samuel Jerry Cobbina1,2, Samuel Obiri3, J.Z. Dagben1
1Department of Ecotourism and Environmental Management, Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources, University of Development Studies, Tamale, Ghana
2School of the Environment, Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang, P. R. China
3Environmental Chemistry Division, CSIR – Water Research Institute, Accra, Ghana
Abstract: This study assessed the levels of toxic chemicals associated with activities of small – scale mining operations such as mercury, cadmium, copper, arsenic, lead, cyanide and zinc in water bodies in Nangodi. Using random sampling techniques, 150 water samples were collected from boreholes and hand dug -out wells in the Nangodi community. The samples were analyzed for the concentration of mercury, cadmium, copper, cyanide, lead and zinc at the Heavy Metal Laboratory of CSIR - Water Research Institute. The mean levels of mercury, arsenic, lead, cyanide, copper, zinc and cadmium in the water samples from boreholes in Kalin near Nangodi are 0.0062µg/L, 0.0797mg/L, 0.0017mg/L, 0.4388mg/L and 0.3355mg/L respectively for mercury, arsenic, cyanide, lead, copper, zinc and cadmium. In Nakpadana community near Nangodi the concentration of mercury, arsenic, cyanide, lead, copper, zinc and cadmium are 0.02017µg/L, 0.023mg/L, 0.0722mg/L, 0.217mg/L, 0.121mg/L and 1.0903mg/L respectively for mercury, arsenic, cyanide, copper, zinc and cadmium. Comparing the levels of mercury, arsenic, lead, cyanide and cadmium exceeded the WHO guideline values. Ingestion of elevated levels of mercury, arsenic, cyanide and cadmium by residents in Nangodi and its surrounding communities would pose significant health hazard to those who consume them. As exposure to the elevated levels of mercury, arsenic, cyanide and cadmium in drinking water causes health risk such as cancer, low intelligent quotient, nausea, etc.