Assessing the potential risks of burial practices on groundwater quality in rural north-central Nigeria

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Several cultures of north-central Nigeria do not use community cemeteries. Instead, human remains are buried in and around family compounds, often in shallow and sometimes unmarked graves. At several locations, graves and drinking water wells end up too close to be presumed environmentally safe. This paper reports findings of a pilot study that explored the potential for groundwater contamination from gravesites in some rural settlements of north-central Nigeria. Preliminary results suggest that the long-standing burial practices among some cultures of rural north-central Nigeria may potentially compromise groundwater quality, which is, by far, their most important source of drinking water.

Keywords: burial practices, gravesite leachate, groundwater contamination, north-central Nigeria

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