Assessing the potential health impact of selected heavy metals that pollute lake amponsah in Bibiani, Western North region, Ghana

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Scientific African
Gold mining contributes significantly to social, economic, and infrastructural development in Ghana. Apart from these benefits, mining activities have negative impacts on the environment as well as the health of fringe communities who depend on the environmental resources for survival. However, despite the increase in small scale mining in the Bibiani Anhwiaso Bekwai Municipal, the extent to which these activities have impacted on the quality of the Amponsah lake is largely unknown. This study, therefore, assessed whether or not the activities of small- scale miners have impacted the quality of the Amponsah lake as well as the health of the people living in the fringe communities who depend on it for survival. The study used qualitative and quantitative data obtained from the laboratory analysis of water samples as well as the thoughts and opinions of occupants of the fringe communities to achieve the objectives of the study. Findings showed that aside total suspended solids, all the physical parameters assessed were below the Ghana Environmental Protection Agency standards. The mean recorded values for pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, total dissolved solids, and total suspended solids were 7.20, 29 °C, 4.80 mg/cm, 383.00 μS/cm, 185 ml/l and 132.40 mg/l respectively. Also, mean concentrations of 0.0053 mg/l, 0.3110 mg/l, 0.0372, and 0.0440 mg/l were recorded for Hg, As, Cd, and Zn respectively with the concentration of zinc only falling below the Ghana Environmental Protection Agency standards. Further, human activities such as small-scale mining, discharge of waste from nearby communities as well as leachate from a dumping site, are the major contributing factors causing pollution in the lake. Mercury source in Lake Amponsah could be through activities of small- scale miners operating around the lake over the years. The unusually high concentration of As could be likely due to the geology of Bibiani. In conclusion, the physicochemical characteristics of the Lake Amponsah have been compromised pointing to a polluted status except for Zn and total suspended solids.
Amponsah lake, Anthropogenic activities, Fringe communities, Mining, Small- scale mining, Ghana, Power, ACE: Energy and Environmental Sustainability, University of Energy & Natural Resources