Municipal solid waste generated in our cities, with an unprecedented population growth, has resulted in degrading environmental quality, thus a major problem for policy makers. The extent of Pb, Cu, Zn, Cd, Hg and Zn contamination in soils of the studied area, where vegetables were grown, using metal contamination factor (CF) and pollution load index were assessed. The concentrations of heavy metals studied were in the order Cu > Zn > Cd > Hg > Pb > Ni, with the highest value (in mg/kg) for Zn (14.15±0.73), Cu (14.15±1.59), Cd (6.57±1.71) and Hg (6.29±0.97) recorded in site SS1. The geo-accumulation index (Igeo) indicated that sites SS3, SS4 and SS5 were uncontaminated, moderately contaminated (1< Igeo<3) for Zn, landfill was moderately to heavily contaminated (1< Igeo<3) for Cu, Cd and for swamp only Hg. Contamination factor (CF) for soils indicated that site SS1 had a very high degree of contamination (CF > 6) for Cu and Cd while the swamp, old dumpsite and downstream had a low contamination (CF<1). The landfill area is moderately contaminated and considering the age and other anthropogenic factors, this environment may become highly polluted in future. This present work could serve as a landmark for contemporary research in eco-toxicology.
Key words: Heavy metals, contamination, soils, agriculture, landfill, Buea.
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