High iron content in river waters: environmental risks for aquatic biota and human health
This study assessed the concentrations of metals in the Dourados and Brilhante Rivers, investigated the influence of landscape features surrounding these rivers on water quality, and evaluated the risks associated with metal contamination for aquatic biota and human health. Sampling was conducted at eighteen sites distributed along the rivers in June 2016. The concentrations of metals (Cu, Zn, Mn, Fe, Cr, Al and Co) in the water were analyzed by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy. All the samples possessed Fe concentrations above the threshold value for aquatic biota (0.3 mg L-1). Moreover, land use and land cover assessment of the study area revealed extensive agriculture activity, particularly in areas surrounding the Dourados River headwaters. Fe bioavailability for both rivers indicated risks for aquatic biota and human health. Overall, the elevated Fe content in these rivers was attributed to anthropogenic activity in the vicinity of these water bodies and the soil characteristics of the area. Considering the importance of river basins, it is necessary to implement public policies for their conservation, especially those related to the cultivation of forests of native species and sustainable agricultural practices, in addition to improving the effluent treatment infrastructure, which is essential to minimize the adverse effects of contamination by chemical elements in water bodies.
Keywords: aquatic ecosystems, environmental contaminants, forest fragments.
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