African Journal of
Environmental Science and Technology

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Environ. Sci. Technol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0786
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJEST
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 1126

Full Length Research Paper

Assessment of pollution impacts on the ecological integrity of the Kisian and Kisat rivers in Lake Victoria drainage basin, Kenya

Kobingi, Nyakeya1*, Raburu, Philip Okoth2, Masese, Frank Onderi2 and Gichuki, John1
  1Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI), P. O. Box 1881 Kisumu, Kenya. 2Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Moi University, Kenya, P. O. Box 1125, Eldoret, Kenya.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 14 February 2009
  •  Published: 30 April 2009



Macro-invertebrate assemblages were used as bioindicators to assess the ecological integrity of Rivers Kisat (influenced by urban development) and Kisian (influenced by agriculture) using community attributes and the Index of Biotic Integrity. Six stations, three per river, were selected to correspond to different impact types and intensities along the rivers. Physico-chemical parameters and nutrients were determined for each station on a monthly basis from November 2007 to April 2008. Two-way analysis of variance was used to compare water quality and nutrient parameters, and macro invertebrate community attributes between the two rivers, with the river and station as the main factors. Significant differences were accepted at 95% confidence level. There were inconsistencies in the variation of physico-chemical parameters along the two rivers. However, River Kisat recorded higher values for all physico-chemical parameters considered, except pH and DO. Different indices and metrics representing the structural and functional organization of macro invertebrates were computed and evaluated for responsiveness to physico-chemical parameters and nutrient levels. Macro invertebrate diversity, richness and evenness values failed to delineate stations according to the different levels of degradation they were experiencing. However, the differences were captured by the index of biotic integrity, which separated stations into different classes of quality. River Kisat stations in urban areas scored lowest index values, less than 15 out of 25, while two river Kisian stations scored the highest value, more than 19. The index provided evidence of response to changes in ecosystem integrity exhibited by resident macro invertebrate assemblages to pollution arising from both point and non-point sources.


Key words: Urban rivers, water quality, physico-chemical parameters, macro invertebrates.