Toxic metal implications on agricultural soils, plants, animals, aquatic life and human health

Okereafor, Uchenna ; Makhatha, Mamookho ; Mekuto, Lukhanyo ; Uche-Okereafor, Nkemdinma ; Sebola, Tendani ; Mavumengwana, Vuyo (2020-03-25)

CITATION: Okereafor, U. et al. 2020. Toxic Metal Implications on Agricultural Soils, Plants, Animals, Aquatic life and Human Health. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(7). doi:10.3390/ijerph17072204

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The problem of environmental pollution is a global concern as it affects the entire ecosystem. There is a cyclic revolution of pollutants from industrial waste or anthropogenic sources into the environment, farmlands, plants, livestock and subsequently humans through the food chain. Most of the toxic metal cases in Africa and other developing nations are a result of industrialization coupled with poor effluent disposal and management. Due to widespread mining activities in South Africa, pollution is a common site with devastating consequences on the health of animals and humans likewise. In recent years, talks on toxic metal pollution had taken center stage in most scientific symposiums as a serious health concern. Very high levels of toxic metals have been reported in most parts of South African soils, plants, animals and water bodies due to pollution. Toxic metals such as Zinc (Zn), Lead (Pb), Aluminium (Al), Cadmium (Cd), Nickel (Ni), Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn) and Arsenic (As) are major mining effluents from tailings which contaminate both the surface and underground water, soil and food, thus affecting biological function, endocrine systems and growth. Environmental toxicity in livestock is traceable to pesticides, agrochemicals and toxic metals. In this review, concerted efforts were made to condense the information contained in literature regarding toxic metal pollution and its implications in soil, water, plants, animals, marine life and human health.

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