Causes and Effects of Water Pollution on Human Health and the Aquatic Ecosystems: the Case of Bahirdar Satellite Town, Blue Nile ‘Abbay’ River Basin

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Addis Ababa University


Water pollution occurs when unwanted materials enter in to water, changes the quality of water and become harmful to environment and human health. Despite water is an important natural resource used for drinking and other developmental purposes in Bahirdar satellite town, there are public concerns on the lack of safe drinking water, deteriorating aquatic ecosystem and water borne health problems. Thus, this thesis was imitated to investigate the causes and effects of water pollution on human health and the surrounding aquatic ecosystem in some selected areas of Bahirdar satellite towns, the Abbay river basins. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected from primary and secondary data sources using a structured questionnaire, interview guides and thematization, and analyzed by using the latest SPSS software. From the study, it was found that the Bahirdar satellite town, Abbay river basin was highly polluted. Accordingly, discharge of domestic and industrial effluent wastes, leakage from water tanks, unlawful dumping, radioactive waste and agricultural deposition are major causes of water pollution. Agricultural pesticides and fertilizers that disposed off and industrial waste can accumulate in tan lakes and the Abbay river basin, proving harmful to humans and animals. Toxic effluents in industrial wastes of the ‘Poly’ and ‘Peda’ campuses of Bahirdar University were also the major cause of water pollution. Infectious diseases, like cholera, typhoid fever and other diseases gastroenteritis, diarrhoea, vomiting, skin problems, reproductive failure, acute poisoning and kidney problem are spreading through polluted water. Human health is affected by the direct damage of plants and animal nutrition. The pollutants were killing useful plants, molluscs, aquatic birds, fishes, crustaceans and other aquatic organisms that serve as food for human. Insecticides and other chemical waste concentration were increasing along the food chain. These insecticides were harmful for humans. Based on the findings of the research it were recommended to enhance public awareness, preventive enforcement and legislative measures and carryout mechanical and biological soil and water conservation measures so as to improve river water quality in Abbay River basins.



Abbay River basin, Bahir Dar Satellite town, Health effect, Point Source Pollution, Non-Point Source Pollution, perception, Water pollution