Traces of drugs found in dam that supplies water to Abuja

According to Premium Times, “Our research investigated the occurrence of selected antibiotics and analgesics (painkillers) in water and sediments of Usuma dam in Abuja.

Pharmaceuticals – drugs used to prevent or treat human and animal diseases – are essential for health and well-being. But the increasing use of these drugs means that remnants of them are showing up in the aquatic environment. They are contaminating our waters.

Pharmaceuticals are part of a group of substances known as emerging contaminants. Although they are potentially harmful to human and ecological health, they are yet to be regulated and routinely monitored in the environment. Most conventional treatment plants typically do not remove emerging pollutants because they were not originally designed for them. These contaminants can enter oceans, rivers, streams, dams and groundwater through waste water and sewage treatment plants, human excretion, landfill leaching, facilities, pharmaceutical industry effluents and veterinary drug applications.

The contaminants may be transported in water to other places or accumulate in sediments – rocks, sand, soils, decaying materials and vegetation under water – and in creatures that live in water. Some of the effects of these drugs on aquatic organisms include DNA damage, disruptions to hormonal systems and formation of antibiotic resistant microbial strains.

There have been several studies of pharmaceuticals in aquatic environments across the world but only a few studies in African countries. So in our , we investigated the occurrence of selected pharmaceuticals in water and sediments of Usuma dam in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. We also assessed the risk of the harm they could do.

We found traces of pharmaceuticals in water and sediment of the dam and that is not good for ecological and public health.

Sink for pollutants
The dam is an important source of potable water and fish for people living in Abuja. It is also a major receiving water body, so acts as a sink for pollutants from the environs. It is surrounded by large unplanned settlements and is the major drain for household, municipal and agricultural wastes in the area.

Our research investigated the occurrence of selected antibiotics and analgesics (painkillers) in water and sediments of Usuma dam.

We looked for antibiotics in water samples and found amoxicillin, ciprofloxacin and metronidazole. Trimethoprim was found in the sediment samples. These antibiotics are used to treat or prevent bacterial . Ibuprofen, detected only in sediments, was the only painkiller detected in the .

We found that amoxicillin and ibuprofen presented a high risk to aquatic life in the dam. Ciprofloxacin constituted medium risk, while metronidazole constituted low risk.(Premium Times)

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