Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 18, pp 17690–17715 | Cite as

Polar pesticide contamination of an urban and peri-urban tropical watershed affected by agricultural activities (Yaoundé, Center Region, Cameroon)

  • Perrine BranchetEmail author
  • Emmanuelle Cadot
  • Hélène Fenet
  • David Sebag
  • Benjamin Ngounou Ngatcha
  • Valérie Borrell-Estupina
  • Jules Remy Ndam Ngoupayou
  • Ives Kengne
  • Jean-Jacques Braun
  • Catherine Gonzalez
Research Article


Urban agriculture is crucial to local populations, but the risk of it contaminating water has rarely been documented. The aim of this study was to assess pesticide contamination of surface waters from the Méfou watershed (Yaoundé, Cameroon) by 32 selected herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides (mainly polar) according to their local application, using both grab sampling and polar organic compounds integrative samplers (POCIS). Three sampling campaigns were conducted in the March/April and October/November 2015 and June/July 2016 rainy seasons in urban and peri-urban areas. The majority of the targeted compounds were detected. The quantification frequencies of eight pesticides were more than 20% with both POCIS and grab sampling, and that of diuron and atrazine reached 100%. Spatial differences in contamination were evidenced with higher contamination in urban than peri-urban rivers. In particular, diuron was identified as an urban contaminant of concern because its concentrations frequently exceeded the European water quality guideline of 0.200 μg/L in freshwater and may thus represent an ecological risk due to a risk quotient > 1 for algae observed in 94% of grab samples. This study raises concerns about the impacts of urban agriculture on the quality of water resources and to a larger extent on the health of the inhabitants of cities in developing countries.

Graphical abstract


Pesticide monitoring Surface waters Urban agriculture Sub-Saharan Africa Passive sampling 



The authors thank Moïse NOLA (University of Yaoundé I) for his advice and support, Jean-Claude NTONGA, and Henriette ATEBA MASSUSSI (Cameroonian Institute of Geological and Mineral Researches) for their welcome and support and Alain FEZEU and Sylvie SPINELLI for their technical and field assistance.

Funding information

This study was financed by LMI PICASS’EAU, HydroSciences Montpellier Lab., Montpellier Institute of Water and Environment and Institut Mines Télécom Mines Alès.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_1798_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (14 kb)
ESM 1 (XLSX 14 kb).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Perrine Branchet
    • 1
    Email author
  • Emmanuelle Cadot
    • 2
  • Hélène Fenet
    • 2
  • David Sebag
    • 2
    • 3
  • Benjamin Ngounou Ngatcha
    • 4
  • Valérie Borrell-Estupina
    • 2
  • Jules Remy Ndam Ngoupayou
    • 5
  • Ives Kengne
    • 6
  • Jean-Jacques Braun
    • 7
  • Catherine Gonzalez
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Génie de l’Environnement Industriel (LGEI), IMT Mines AlèsUniversity of MontpellierAlesFrance
  2. 2.HydroSciences Montpellier, IRD, CNRSUniversity of MontpellierMontpellierFrance
  3. 3.Normandie Univ, UNIROUEN, UNICAEN, CNRS, M2CRouenFrance
  4. 4.Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of SciencesUniversity of NgaoundéréNgaoundereCameroon
  5. 5.Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of SciencesUniversity of Yaoundé IYaoundeCameroon
  6. 6.Wastewater Research Unit, Faculty of SciencesUniversity of Yaoundé IYaoundeCameroon
  7. 7.Géosciences Environnement Toulouse, CNRS, IRD, CNAP, CNESUniversity of Toulouse IIIToulouseFrance

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