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Anthropogenic Factors and Urban River Quality: A Critical Analysis of Aba River. By: Godwin O. Oloko


Sediments and water samples from Aba River in an extremely virile commercial center of Nigeria were analysed for Pb, Fe, Cd, Co, Cr, As and Zn using AAS. Also some hysicochemical parameters were taken in situ and the general physical state of the river was assessed for possible degradation of the surface water quality by anthropogenic input from urban activities. These results were compared with those obtained from Azumini River far remote from the commercial city of Aba which served as control. The results show thatAba River sediments have high concentrations of Pb (6.66-222.96ppm) which is above the permissible limit of 2-200ppm (Bohn, et al, 1979). Also Cd (0.54-8.72ppm) is higher than the permissible limit of 0.01-7ppm (Bohn, et al. 1979) for sediments. Fe, Co, Cr, As and Zn though have concentrations lower than the limits their significant values are worrisome. The heavy metal concentrations are low in the water samples but the physicochemical parameters of the surface water call for alarm. It is even doubtful if biota could conveniently strive there. The physical nature of the river channel portrays a high level of degradation at least within the heart of the town. When compared with Azumini River that is very fresh, it is evident that the river condition is as a result of urban activities. Suggestion are made to save the river from further deterioration.