Item Details

Title: Agricultural chemicals and metal contaminants in the Ugandan catchment of Lake Victoria

Date Published: December 2005
Author/s: Semalulu, O. and Hecky, R.E. and Muir, D
Data publication:
Funding Agency :
Copyright/patents/trade marks:
Journal Publisher:
Affiliation: Kawanda Agricultural Research Institute, P. O. Box 7065, Kampala, Uganda. 2
Department of Biology, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue, Waterloo,
Ontario N2L-3G1, Canada. 3
Environment Canada NWRI, 867 Lakeshore Road Burlington ON Canada, L7R 4A6.
Keywords: Pesticides, non-point pollution, heavy metals, mercury, fish contamination.


Use of agricultural chemicals in the Lake Victoria catchment has increased in recent years.
The increasing level of environmental degradation reflected in loss of vegetation cover, biomass burning,
encroachment on protected areas, and accelerated soil erosion pose a serious environmental concern
due to non point pollution in the atmosphere, soil and aquatic ecosystems. Studies under the Lake
Victoria Environmental Management Project (LVEMP) and other international investigators have
revealed gross abuse and misuse of agricultural chemicals in Uganda. Many restricted chemicals are
being used by untrained persons while adulteration of some is common. A number of banned
organochlorinated pesticides (e.g. DDT, endosulfan, dieldrin and lindane) were detected in air showing
that they may still be in use in the Lake Victoria basin. However, these pesticides were not detected in
sediments, water or fish tissue. Studies also showed that herbicides Touch Down (48% Glyophosate
trimesium) and Gasepax (2,4-D and Ametryne) used in sugarcane cultivation pose no environmental
threat in runoff water, soil and fish, four months after field application. Elevated metal concentrations
(Mn, Zn and Cr) detected in some rivers were, related to industrial activities or runoff from urban areas,
therefore calling for controlled waste disposal