Industrial and domestic discharges of effluent is one of the major causes of heavy metal pollution in aquatic ecosystems. Samples of benthic sediment and freshwater mollusc Bellamya unicolor
were collected from 5 sites in the River Kaduna to determine heavy metal concentration, their ecological risk, and antioxidant enzymes activities in Bellamya unicolor
. The results revealed the level of pollution based on heavy metal concentrations across the sites in the order S5 > S3 > S4 > S1 > S2. The ecological risk factor (ErF) revealed that Cd made the highest contribution to pollution, recording the highest ErF (2206.41). Moreover, the results of correlation base multivariate analysis showed that urban and industrial waste were the sources of Cu and Pb in the River Kaduna. The significant positive correlation between metal concentration and antioxidants catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) was established, with maximum activities of antioxidants at site S5. Results from this study have revealed potential ecological risk as a result of heavy metals pollution in the River Kaduna. Hence the need for approaches and policies be put in place to prevent the discharge of untreated industrial and domestic waste into this aquatic ecosystem.
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