The Nigerian economy had remarkable industrial growth between 1970 and 1980 and industrialization and urbanization have been sustained albeit at a slower rate. Nevertheless, waste management remains grossly underdeveloped. Environmental concern is only a recent phenomenon, resulting thus far in the launching of a monthly clean-up campaign in 1984 and the establishment of the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) in 1988. The level of public awareness has not been encouraging. The indiscriminate discharge of largely untreated factory and urban effluents has continued. Streets and home surroundings become littered soon after clean-up exercises. Inadequate facilities contribute to the unwholesome situation. Refuse collecting centers are mostly without any holding containers, and solid wastes, the focus of the monthly clean-up, are left on the bare ground. Heavy automobile traffic and high lead content of the local automobile fuels have not helped matters. Heavy metals in the human environment are of global concern. In developed countries, limits of concentrations in fish and other foods have been set to safeguard public health, but Nigeria has yet to set any standards because of lack of baseline data. Within the last decade, scientists have been reporting on heavy metal levels in fish from the aquatic environment of Nigeria. Among the metals, lead was the most prominent, with a mean value comparable to the set limits in Great Britain and New Zealand. The present study was aimed at further establishing the levels of contamination in fish by lead and other metals in the Nigerian aquatic systems. Smoke-dried fish, being the most consumed by the local population, was chosen for the survey on the levels of cadmium, cobalt, copper, chromium, iron, manganese, lead and zinc. Possible surface contamination arising from observed poor handling practices was also investigated. 18 refs., 1 fig., 4 tabs.
Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 07/1994; 52(6):825-32. DOI:10.1007/BF00200690