Public health challenges as a result of contaminated water sources in Kumba, Cameroon

Therese Nganje, Esther Agbor, Christopher Adamu, Andy Upong, Bridget Katte, Aniekan Edet, Andrew Hursthouse

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5 Citations (Scopus)
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Kumba, the largest city in the Southwest Region of Cameroon, is characterized by the prevalence of waterborne diseases due to ingestion of contaminated water. Sixty-four water samples were collected from different sources including pipe-borne (PW), surface/stream (SW) and groundwater (HDW) sources as
well as the catchment area (CW) in Kumba metropolis. These water samples were analyzed for physicochemical and microbiological parameters and the results compared with international standards. The results of physiochemical parameters showed that the water samples were mildly acidic, not saline and soft. The levels of some trace elements (Al, Fe, As, Cd, Co, Cu, Fe, Mn, Pb) in some water samples were higher than permissible limits. Water Quality Index, Contamination Index (C d ) and Trace Element Toxicity Index were used to evaluate the water samples. Results showed that most of the water sources are poor and unsafe for consumption due to high concentrations of Al, Fe, Mn and Pb. Microbiological parameters revealed that 74% of the water samples are in the class of high risk to grossly polluted. Pollution associated with the catchment area was probably the main factor controlling the quality of pipeborne water, while that of the surface and groundwater may be attributed to geogenic and anthropogenic sources including unlined pit latrines. Water sources, especially those ingested by humans in Kumba, should be properly managed including regular treatment so as to protect the health of humans and improve the quality of life.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages29
JournalEnvironmental Geochemistry and Health
Early online date25 Jul 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Jul 2019


  • Water quality
  • Exposure risk
  • Public health
  • Kumba Cameroon


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