The Current Trends in Lead Contamination in Zambian Towns: Save the Innocents
Keywords:human health, lead contamination, lead toxicity, remediation, Zambia
Lead (Pb) is a heavy metal which was actively mined in Kabwe, in Zambia’s Central Province and to a lesser extent, on the Copperbelt. Though the lead-zinc mine in Kabwe closed almost three decades ago, the risks associated with chronic exposure to the toxic heavy metal have not been addressed and remain a source of grave concern. Kabwe still remains one of the most lead contaminated towns in the world. Studies have shown that lead levels in soil, water and sediment far exceed permissible limits set by the World Health Organization. Recent investigations on the children under the age of seven in the mining towns have revealed arming levels of lead in their blood. Similarly, high level of lead has also been recorded in livestock in the same towns. Lead affects all organs of the body, particularly the nervous system. This paper identifies the various sources of Pb contamination in Zambian towns and the effects of lead toxicity on human health. Currently there are no any mitigation measures in place to protect people and livestock from excessive exposure to lead in the mining towns. The paper proposes sustainable bioremediation measures that can be used to reduce lead contamination in Zambian mining towns.
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