Occurrence, distribution, and environmental risk of pharmaceutical residues in Mombasa peri-urban creeks, Kenya

Veronica Ogolla Wayayi Wanjeri, Eric Okuku, Anthony Gachanja, Jane Catherine Ngila, Patrick Gathura Ndungu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The information on pharmaceutical compounds' distribution and their possible risks in marine ecosystems along the Kenya coast is limited especially in the peri-urban creeks. Hence, this study aimed to determine pharmaceutical residue levels and distribution in selected peri-urban creeks in Mombasa and Gazi bay. The target compounds were analgesic (acetaminophen), antibiotics (trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole), antiepileptic (carbamazepine), and antiretroviral (nevirapine). Pharmaceutical residues in grab surface seawater in wet and dry seasons ranged from below detection limit (BDL)-1065.6 μg L−1 and BDL-71.3 μg L−1, respectively. The concentration of the pharmaceutical residues was high in Tudor creek in the dry and wet seasons with a mean concentration of 63.3 μg L−1 and 233.1 μg L−1 respectively compared to Makupa creek (dry season, 54.2 μg L−1; wet season 16.2 μg L), and Mtwapa creek (dry season, 43.1 μg L−1; wet season, 15.0 μg L−1). Gazi Bay being used as a control site had a mean concentration of 21.3 μg L−1 and 3.1 μg L−1 during the dry season and wet season respectively. Acetaminophen and nevirapine were the most ubiquitous compounds in seawater since they were found in all seawater samples collected. Risk quotients (RQ) for invertebrates and algae based on the mean concentrations of the analytes were estimated to provide a preliminary environmental risk assessment. The results suggest that the studied acetaminophen, trimethoprim, sulfamethoxazole, and carbamazepine in seawater pose low (0.01 ≤ RQ < 0.1) to medium (0.1 ≤ RQ < 1) ecological risk whereas nevirapine poses medium to high (RQ ≥ 1) ecological risk to the ecosystems of Mombasa periurban creeks and Gazi bay. Further research, however, is encouraged on the distribution of pharmaceuticals in the marine environment and the long-term synergistic effects of mixtures of these compounds on marine biota.

Original languageEnglish
Article number137144
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • Coastal creeks
  • Environmental risk assessment
  • Peri-urban
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Seawater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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