Nairobians Drink Water Containing ARVs - Study

  • A new study has revealed that a section of Nairobi residents is consuming water containing antiretrovirals (ARVs), antibiotics, hormones and anti-depressants.

    The study conducted by the University of Eldoret and Ghent University of Belgium has revealed that ARVs and antibiotics are highly concentrated in rivers, waste and ground water.

    The report shockingly highlights that treatment plants across the city do not have the capability to remove the drugs as major facilities are only equipped to reduce 35 to 80 per cent of pharmaceuticals. 

    It, therefore, means that the contaminated water ends up flowing from the taps of consumers.

    “We don’t have the expertise, instruments and knowledge to monitor these pharmaceuticals in water. It is something we need to think about,” said Mr Kenneth K’oreje, one of the researchers.

    The report cites treatment plants in Dandora and Ngong River to be less effective in purifying water.

    The researchers state that drugs in the contaminated water pose more danger since unlike other pollutants, they were meant to act on the body.

    According to Mr K’oreje, due to exposure to antibiotics in the water, the bacteria becomes resistant, therefore, city residents run the risk of getting the resistant strain.

    The study also shows that water consumed in Kisumu has a higher concentration of antibiotic sulfadoxine, which is a combined drug with Fansidar that is used to treat malaria.

    The study, Occurrence Patterns of Pharmaceutical Residues in Waste Water, Surface Water and Ground Water of Nairobi and Kisumu, Kenya, states that consumers should be worried about long term effects of consuming the water.

    According to the research conducted in April, the drugs contaminate the water through untreated sewage.