Received Date: 22 December 2022 | Accepted Date: 09 February 2023 | Published Date: 28 February 2023
Keywords: pollution., livelihood., ecosystem, Biodiversity, Artisanal, degradation, epidemic
To feed the expanding population, agriculture must be practiced in a more sustainable manner that improves productivity and the natural ecosystem. The main components of sustainable production systems that support the health of agro-ecosystems are people and the environment. The extractive nature of gold miners' practices has significant negative effects on the environment, which lower agricultural productivity due to the harm caused to the environment. The study aimed to determine the extent of ecosystem damage induced by bio-geochemical components of soil contaminated with heavy metals, which has an impact on agriculture and public health. Soil samples were collected from eight communities due to noticeable degradation levels, and characterized for heavy metals and other toxicants in the soil adopting standard procedures. The results revealed wider variations in the concentration of heavy metals and other toxicants between the degraded and non-degraded forestland as control. The mean heavy metals (mg/kg) in the soil at Ido Ijesa/Campus area was recorded as Hg (1.07), Cd (8.52), Ar (42.77), and Pb (118.71); At Isua, Hg (0.64), Cd (8.33), Ar (32.74), and Pb (295.72); while Iperindo/Imogara/Odo Ijesa recorded Hg (1.33), Cd (10.47), Ar (21.78), and Pb (115.64) and OOra/Iregun community had Hg (2.06), Cd (6.74), Ar (35.75), and Pb (85.74) respectively. The mean Cyanide contents in degraded site against non-degraded site were recorded as 89.64 mg/kg against 25.50 mg/kg (3.5:1) at Ido Ijesa/Campus area; 102.51mg/kg against 22.68 mg/kg (4.5:1) at Isua, and 92.68 mg/kg against 21.65 mg/kg (4.3:1) at Iperindo/Imogbara/Odo Ijesa. The geo-accumulation index (Igeo) of heavy metal in the soil is significantly higher in degraded forestland. The high level of toxicants and contaminants present in the soil water is detrimental to crop yield and human food safety. The cyanidation that occurs in severely degraded areas for gold mining is characterized by low crop growth, yield, and the outcome being a high sensitivity to health challenges. However, if the threat continues unabated, many residents of Osun state would not be protected from a persistent outbreak of water-borne diseases.
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