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Trace metal levels of the Odaw river sediments at the Agbogbloshie e-waste recycling site

MA Chama
EF Amankwa
M Oteng-Ababio


The lack of appropriate infrastructure and legislation regarding the proper way of handling ewastes has encouraged informal recycling as in the case of the Agbogbloshie e-waste site. The burning and dumping of these wastes at the bank of the Odaw River eventually end up in the river. To ascertain the level of trace metal contamination in the Odaw River, 15 sediment samples collected from five different locations were analyzed for their trace metals. The locations were chosen to represent areas near to heavy e-waste activities and areas with no apparent ewaste activities, and analysis carried out using Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry. The results indicated that mean concentrations of the trace metals (Cu, Cd, Pb, Fe, Cr and Ni) were highest at locations near burning and dumping sites (L1 and L2 respectively). This was attributed to the result of e-waste activities and the configuration of the river. With the exception of Cu and Cd at L1, the rest of the metals were below the recommended Canadian interim sediment quality guideline (ISQG) while none was above the Probable Effect Level (PEL), an indication that the levels of trace metal contamination were below the concentration at which frequent adverse effects are expected to occur. The results have confirmed that e-waste recycling activities along the banks of the Odaw River contribute to the contamination of the river.

Keywords: E-waste, sediment, metal, contamination, recycling

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 3057-3629
print ISSN: 0855-0395