POTENTIAL EFFECTS OF CARWASH FACILITIES ON SURFACE WATER BODIES; THE CASE OF SELECTED AREAS IN FAKO DIVISION, SOUTH WEST REGION OF CAMEROON
NDEMANOU FENWORE LAURE
Department of Development Studies
Master of Science (M.Sc.) Degree in Sustainable Development with specialisation in Environment and Natural Resource Management.
The fugitive, vital and finite nature of water makes it one of the most important natural resources; which sustains aquatic and human life and plays a central role in development. Most industries and local facilities tend to establish around water resources because of the numerous services it provides. Carwash facilities are one of the growing local industries that tend to establish along streams in Fako Division, South West Region of Cameroon. Pollution of water has become a serious global environmental concern with legal instruments and frameworks, international conventions and policies set up to protect natural resources. This research aimed at characterizing the water used by carwash facilities that established along streams in Fako Division of Cameroon, and assessing the environmental impact. Water samples were collected purposively from carwash facilities located inside streams. Samples were collected upstream, at discharge point and downstream. Using standard methods to test for different physicochemical and organic parameters, results indicate that there is a change in the physicochemical state of water due to high concentrations of organic pollutants. Mean concentration of oil and grease ranged from 7.08mg/l ± 3.16 to 9.50mg/l ±3.66 at Ombe and Bota carwashes respectively. THC ranged from 0.19mg/l ±0.05 to 0.49mg/l ± 0.16 for Muea and Mile 15 carwashes respectively. These organic pollutants were above the Maximum allowable limit by WHO, and USEPA, and showed a positive correlation with the TSS, BOD, COD and other physicochemical parameters. THC versus oil and grease showed a strong positive correlation of 0.851 at discharge point but slightly positive correlation downstream 0.274. The pH of water ranged from 6.62 ± 0.19 to 7.73 ± 0.18. Heavy metal concentration was high for Zn, Pb, and Cu but undetectable for cadmium for most sample points. Concerning the legal instruments, investigations show that there is little enforcement of the laws of the state and concerning international conventions thus the reason for the rapid growth of these facilities along streams in the South West region of Cameroon. For the proper protection of this vital resource, implementation and enforcement of laws and policies are strongly recommended.
Keywords: Physico-chemical parameters, carwash, oil and grease, heavy metals, water, pollution.