Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 34, pp 34510–34518 | Cite as

Organochlorine pesticide residues in sediment and water from Nairobi River, Kenya: levels, distribution, and ecological risk assessment

  • Elizabeth N. NdundaEmail author
  • Vincent O. Madadi
  • Shem O. Wandiga
Research Article


Production and use of most organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) was banned through the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants. However, appreciable amounts are still detected in the environment due to their persistence, illegal use, and releases from contaminated soils and obsolete stocks. The present study investigated the levels of OCP residues in Nairobi River. Sediment and water samples were collected from three sites along the river and screened for 17 OCPs using gas chromatography electron capture detector (GC-ECD). Mean pesticide residues ranged from 0.01 to 41.9 μg kg−1 in sediment and below detection limit to 39.7 ng L−1 in water. In sediment α-HCH, β-HCH, γ-HCH, heptachlor epoxide, and p,p′-DDD were detected in all samples, while α-HCH, γ-HCH, δ-HCH, heptachlor epoxide, endosulfan I, and endrin were detected in all water samples. Levels of OCPs in water were below the WHO maximum allowable limits for surface water. However, values higher than the sediment quality guidelines for sediment samples in Racecourse Road Bridge and Outering Road Bridge were reported, thus confirming the toxicity to aquatic organisms. Consequently, as these compounds are known to bio-accumulate in fatty tissues, continued use of the river water poses a health risk to animals and humans.


Nairobi River Organochlorine pesticides Persistent organic pollutants Gas chromatography electron capture detector Residues 



E.N Ndunda acknowledges the University of Nairobi for funding her studies.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth N. Ndunda
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Vincent O. Madadi
    • 1
  • Shem O. Wandiga
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry, School of Physical SciencesUniversity of NairobiNairobiKenya
  2. 2.Department of Physical Sciences, School of Pure and Applied SciencesMachakos UniversityMachakosKenya

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