AUTHOR : IHEJIRIKA, CHINEDU EMEKA (PhD)
DEPARTMENT : MICROBIOLOGY
AFFILIATION : FEDERAL UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, OWERRI.
Pollution of Imo River poses major threat to human and aquatic health. This research ascertained the impact of human activities and seasonal influences on the quality of Imo River at 7 major points of human activities. Triplicate samples were collected on peaks of dry and rainy seasons for two years, while paper mill effluents samples from 3 industries were collected with samples of Owerrinta Point and subjected to standard analytical methods. Values of physicochemical parameters were within FEPA standard except pH, conductivity, TSS, NO3–, and oil and grease. There were significant seasonal variations (P<0.05) for conductivity, turbidity, TSS, NO3–, SO42-, BOD5, and COD and, no significant variations (P>0.05) for temperature, pH, PO42- and, oil and grease. Effluent discharges altered River quality. Results of Total Heterotrophic Bacterial Count (THBC) and Total Coliform Bacterial Count (TCBC) were above standard Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) and showed significant variations (P<0.05) between seasons. Isolates occurred thus: Escherichia coli (100%), Klebsiella mobilis (71.0%), Shigella dysenteriae (71.0%), Salmonella typhi (71.0%), Proteus vulgaris (42.9%), Vibrio cholerae (42.9%), Pseudomonas aeroginosa (85.7%), Staphylococcus aureus (85.7%), Bacillus subtilis (100.0%), Enterobacter cloacae (57.1%), Citrobacter freundii (14.3%), Serratia marcescens (14.3%), and Streptococcus faecalis (14.3%). Human activities altered the quality of Imo River. These organisms are of public health importance. The River should be regulated from human abstractions to prevent water borne diseases and for sustainable aquatic resources management.
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