Effects of Sand-Harvesting on River Water Quality and Riparian Soil Physico-Chemical Properties
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he widespread distribution of river sand-harvesting activities continues to degrade river water quality and the surrounding riverine environments. This study determined practical effects of sand-harvesting on two rivers in Kakamega County Kenya. Water samples were tested for turbidity and total suspended solids (TSS). For riparian soils, nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), pH, organic carbon (OC), moisture content and textural class were determined on composite samples obtained from the field. Two control sites not affected by sand-harvesting were also used for comparison. Results indicate TSS concentrations increased during the rainy season when sand-harvesting was occurring, with significant differences between the control and sand-harvesting sample groups. Between seasons—dry and wet—in natural circumstances, the riparian soil moisture and phosphorus contents increased significantly. The study shows that river sand-harvesting degrades the aesthetic value of riparian areas, and makes rivers prone to bank erosion, and silt. This increases river water turbidity. The study concludes that sand-harvesting does not directly affect the riparian soil moisture content, total N, P, pH, OC or textural class, but reduces productivity of riparian land and puts the riverine ecosystems at risk.
Lwanga, A. , Tsingalia, H. , Agevi, H. and Shilenje, Z. (2022) Effects of Sand-Harvesting on River Water Quality and Riparian Soil Physico-Chemical Properties. Open Journal of Ecology, 12, 570-583