Industrial Pollution and Food Safety in Kigali, Rwanda

Document Type: Original Research Paper


School of Animal Plant and Environmental Science University of the Witwatersrand, Private Bag 3, WITS 2050, Johannesburg, South Africa


We determined the concentrations of lead and cadmium in edible parts of Colocasiaesculenta,
Amaranthusspp. and Ipomoea batata cultivated on farms in industrially polluted sections of Nyabugogo
marsh (Kigali, Rwanda) and quantified metal intake by consumers of these crops. We report that metal
concentrations in crops were within EU limits. The highest metal concentrations were found in Amaranthusspp. leaves (lead = 0.31 mg/kg and cadmium = 0.03 mg/kg) and the lowestin I. batata (lead = 0.02 mg/kg and cadmium = 0.01 mg/kg). Conversely, metal intake through these crops by adults in a surveyed community exceeded thresholds prescribed by the World Health Organization (WHO). Based on crop consumption quantities, dietary lead intake by adults exceeded the recommended maximum by as much as seven and four orders of magnitude through Amaranthusspp and C. esculenta,respectively. Cadmium intake exceeded the WHO recommended maximum by two (Amaranthusspp and C. esculenta)and three (I. batata) orders of magnitude.