The concentrations of five heavy metals in components of an economically important urban coastal wetland in Ghana: Public health and phytoremediation implications
Sakumo II is an urban wetland and a receptacle for domestic and industrial wastes from two cities in Ghana. It however supports viable populations of fish and crabs, is cultivated for food crops and grazed by farm animals. Components of the wetland can therefore accumulate pollutants, but the public health and phytoremediation implications of this are yet to be evaluated. We analysed Cd, As, Hg, Cu and Pb in the lagoon water, sediment, green algae, eight species of aquatic macrophytes, seven species of arthropods and one species of fish. The concentrations of Pb were generally below detection limit whilst Cu was detected only in the lagoon water and Pheropsophus vertialis. Cadmium ranged from 21±4 ppb in algae to 69±12 ppb in Typha domingensis and was generally higher than As and Hg. The highest concentration of As was 11.7±2.1 ppb in Pistia stratiotes whilst Hg was highest in lagoon water (4±2 ppb). The Cd concentrations generally, and Hg concentrations in macrophytes, were higher than US EPA guidelines indicating the wetland’s resources were unsafe for regular consumption. Among the emergent aquatic macrophytes, T. domingensis, Ludwigia sp. and Paspalum vaginatum, respectively, had the highest accumulation capacity for Cd, As and Hg, but the floating aquatic plant P. stratiotes appeared to be a better accumulator of Cd and As.