Food Security and Environmental Implications of Urban Wetlands Utilisation as Vegetable Gardens: The Case of Bamenda Municipality Cameroon
Asongwe Godswill Azinwie, Bernard P.K Yerima, Aaron Suh Tening, Mbomi Elizabeth Sailieh

Wetland agriculture brings significant benefits to food security, health and income. However, ill-considered development often leads to deleterious environmental impacts and harmful consequences to people’s livelihoods. This study using multi-criteria approach addresses possible environmental and food security hazards’ in vegetable gardens in urban wetlands of the Bamenda municipality, besides conflicts over access. It evaluates their ecological status, soil heavy metal loads, and their accumulation in vegetables. Twenty one samples each of surface soils and Solanum scarbrum were collected from vegetable gardens in the municipality and analysed for their heavy metal (Cd, Pb, Cr, and Mn) content using the atomic absorption spectrometry. The results indicated that the wetlands of the municipality have been moderately modified with a loss and change of biota such as the Raffia fanifera. Pollution load indices varied considerably at the different sites, and ranged from unpolluted through slight pollution to medium pollution. The mean values of bioaccumulation factor (BAF) for Solanum scarbrum, stood at Cd>Mn>Pb>Cr, with respective values of1.23, 1.14, 1.01, and 0.48, insignificantly higher (P>0.05) than those of the control sample. Cadmium is easily transferred in this vegetable than any other metal. The intake of Cd was estimated at 9E-7 mg, representing approximately 0.009 % of the referenced dose (RfD), established to 0.001 mg kg–1.Due to the gradual degradation of wetlands in Bamenda and the urgent need to secure and improve people’s quality of life while simultaneously safeguarding the ecological benefits derived from the wetland, policy makers should integrate conservation and development in planning.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jaes.v6n1a7