A study conducted early this year by the Centre of Excellence in Water and Sanitation at Mzuzu University has revealed high toxic content in Mzuzu City groundwater that poses a health threat to humans.
The data collection exercise included quality analysis from 32 sites in the city.
The findings, authored by Rochelle Holm, Elija Wanda and Joshua Mchenga, indicate that Mzuzu City groundwater is exposed to sanitation gaps due to lapses in waste management.
“The waste includes pesticides, pharmaceuticals and personal care products, various trace elements, including rare earths and radionuclide,” reads part of the report.
In an interview yesterday, Wanda said shallow wells remain an important water source for domestic use in Mzuzu City and it is sad that they are often contaminated.
“Caffeine and bisphenol A were detected in 44 percent and 41 percent of groundwater samples, respectively. These two have negative health effects on human survival. It is worrisome because even in areas with piped water supply, shallow wells are still being used for domestic use,” he said.
The study recommended the need to prevent further release of toxins into water sources from disposal sites.
Commenting on the findings, Mzuzu City Council (MCC) assistant director of health, Mabvuto Lupwayi, said the results of the study are an eye opener for the public to take collective action in proper waste disposal.
Mzuzu City has a population of 220 000 people with available piped water at 82 percent.
The research was funded by Climate Justice Water Future Programme.