Sediment Metal Contamination in the Kafue River of Zambia and Ecological Risk Assessment

  • Ethel M’kandawire
  • Kennedy Choongo
  • John Yabe
  • Maxwell Mwase
  • Ngonda Saasa
  • Shouta M. M. Nakayama
  • Nesta Bortey-Sam
  • Claudia A. Blindauer


Zambia’s Kafue River receives wastes from various sources, resulting in metal pollution. This study determined the degree of contamination of 13 metals (Al, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Se, Cd, Hg and Pb) in Kafue River sediment and the associated ecological risks at six sites in three different seasons. The level of contamination for most metals showed significant site and seasonal differences. The contamination factor and pollution load index indicated that concentrations of most metals particularly copper (Cu), cobalt (Co), manganese (Mn) and arsenic (As) were very high at sites within the Copperbelt mining area. The geoaccumulation index showed an absence of anthropogenic enrichment with Cd and Hg at all the study sites and extreme anthropogenic enrichment with Cu at sites in the Copperbelt mining area. Potential ecological risk showed that Cu and As were likely to cause adverse biological effects to aquatic organisms in the Copperbelt mining region of the Kafue River.


Kafue River sediment Metals Copperbelt mining area Contamination factor Pollution load index Geoaccumulation index Potential ecological risk 



Authors are grateful to the laboratory technical staff at the University of Warwick (especially Mr. Philip Ashton) and the University of Zambia (Mr. Joseph Ndebe, Mr. Ladsluv Moonga and Mr. John Chilundu). Furthermore, we are grateful to the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (ZMCN-2013-352), University of Warwick, International Foundation for Science (IFS) number A/5212-1 and University of Zambia for sponsoring this work.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of ZambiaLusakaZambia
  2. 2.Laboratory of Toxicology, Department of Environmental Veterinary Sciences, Graduate School of Veterinary MedicineHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  3. 3.Department of ChemistryUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK

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