A preliminary evaluation of the DDT contamination of sediments in lakes Natron and Bogoria (East Rift Valley, Africa)



Bettinetti R, Quadroni S, Crosa G, Harper D, Dickie J, Kyalo M, Mavuti K & Galassi S (2011) A preliminary evaluation of the DDT contamination of sediments in lakes Natron and Bogoria (East Rift Valley, Africa). AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment, 40 (4), pp. 341-350.

Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) is still used in Africa for the indoor control of malaria and it may represent a potential hazard for wildlife. The littoral sediments of two alkaline-saline lakes, Natron (Tanzania) and Bogoria (Kenya), in the Eastern Rift Valley, supporting large populations of lesser flamingos (Phoeniconaias minor), were analysed for DDT residues. Physical–chemical analyses (temperature, conductivity, pH and dissolved oxygen) were also performed on the water of the two lakes and in the tributaries of Lake Natron, to evaluate the influence of the environmental variables on pollutant occurrence. At Lake Natron, around 1km from the sediment collection sites, tree leaves ofAcacia tortiliswere also collected. The main metabolite found in all sediment samples was pp’DDE, whilst equal concentrations of pp’DDT and pp’DDE were measured in acacia leaves. The levels of DDTs measured in the sediments were within 5.9–30.9ngg−1d.w., reaching the maximum value in a tributary of Lake Natron. On the whole, the contamination of Lake Natron and Lake Bogoria basins seems to be quite moderate. Nevertheless, the pp’DDE/pp’DDT ratio equals 1 in theAcacia tortilisleaves, which makes one suppose that the input of the parent compound was rather recent and could have been from aerial transport or dust from relatively close-by old pesticides storage sites.

Obsolete contaminant pollution; Soda lakes; Sediments; Acacia leaves; Tanzania; Kenya

AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment: Volume 40, Issue 4

Publication date30/06/2011
Publication date online18/03/2011
Date accepted by journal21/02/2011

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Dr Jennifer Dickie

Dr Jennifer Dickie

Senior Lecturer, Biological and Environmental Sciences