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THE ASSESSMENT OF LANGAT RIVER BASINS WATER QUALITY AND ITS

RELATIONS TO THE LAND-USE AND HUMAN HEALTH

Mazrura S. 1, Md Aizat A.O. 1, Hidayatulfathi O. 2, Md Pauzi A. 4, Er A.C. 3, Normah A. 1 ,


Azhar A.H. 1, Nurul Ashikin Z. 1, Mohamad Naim M.R. 1, Farah D.A. 1,
Akmalina H. 1, Khairani A.R. 1 & Noor Razaiha M. 1
1
Environmental Health Programme, Faculty of Health Science, National University of Malaysia, KL
2
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health Science, National University of Malaysia, KL
3
School of Social, Development and Environmental Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences & Humanity, National
University of Malaysia, Bangi
4
School of Chemical Sciences and Food Technologies, Faculty of Science & Technology, National University of
Malaysia, Bangi
Email: mazrura@gmail.com

Abstract

Introduction: An assessment of water quality and its relations to human health was carried
out in the Langat river basin. The Langat river basin, the most studied river basin in Malaysia
and served as the core natural water river within premier development activities. This river
basin is facing sensitive environmental issues such as pollution of the water resources for the
potable water supply. Methodology: River and streams water samples were taken at the
selected sampling stations from Hulu Langat district to Kuala Langat district. Physico-
chemical parameters were determined using in-situ, while heavy metals and organochlorines
were determined using ICP-MS and GC-ECD respectively. MTT assay in V79 cells is used to
determine cytotoxicity of water samples. Larvae surveys, dissection and rearing of Culex sp.
and membrane filtered test were carried out for biotic and abiotic factors determinations.
Results: Water quality analysis in Langat River Basin showed that the highest mean value of
TSS was 82 mg/L at Labu River, which is within Class III Interim Water Quality Standards
(INWQS). Meanwhile the highest mean value of COD was 64 mg/L at Jugra station, which
within Class IV INWQS. Highest concentration of total nitrogen and phosphorus contents
recorded at Salak River, 8.3 mg/L and Batang Labu River, 0.97 mg/L respectively. Based on
the US EPA, drinking water containing nitrogen level above 10 mg/L may pose a risk of
methemoglobinemia. Heavy metals concentrations are within Class II and III INQWS
standards except for cadmium (Cd) and ferum (Fe) where most rivers showed concentrations
equivalent to Class IV standards. Higher concentration of Cyclodien organochlorine
insectides such as heptachlor epoxide and fecal coliforms were found at sampling stations
near to the agricultural areas. The presence of organochlorines (which has been banned in
Malaysia since 1998) upstream of the water intake points are alarming. Abiotic and biotic
factors which facilitates breeding of Culex sp. were moderate temperature, high amount of
organic compounds, low dissolved oxygen and ammoniacal nitrogen concentration, pH below
7.1 and high bacteria density. Cytotoxic tests with the vialibility of V79 cells reveal that water
samples are more toxic in dry seasons. Effluent and schedule wastes disposals from nearby
industrial and agricultural could contribute to these cytotoxic effects. Conclusion: This study
indicates that the Langat River Basin is vulnerable to the urbanization and land-use activities
that could affect the health of the communities.

Keywords: water quality; heavy metals; organochlorines; Culex sp.; cytotoxicity; human
health