Textile industry wastes, a real threat to agricultural environment in Egypt

Author(s): Wafaa M.Abd-El-Rahim, Hassan Moawad

The problems associated with the discharge of textile dyes into the environment are of growing public concern. This study was conducted to identify the magnitude of the problem in relation to environment pollution. A questionnaire was submitted to several textile plants in the major industrial sites in Egypt: Shubra El Khima, Mehella Kubra, Kafr El-Dawar and New Borg El-Arab regions. The questionnaire intended to seek information regarding textile wastewater disposal, effluent volumes discharged, dyes used, and percent of dyes loss into the effluent discharge. Soils close to the textile plants were analyzed to assess the potential for soil degradation. Soil biological activity using dehydrogenase enzyme activity, total microbial counts as effected by three commonly textile dyes used (Dis-azo brown, Acid red, and Reactive) and their mixture were evaluated. The effect of these dyes on beneficial soil microorganisms; Rhizobium, Azotobacter, yeast, and fungi, was appraised. The main findings were as follows:- The COD of the effluent wastewater was generally high reaching up to 3918 mg/l. On the other hand, the BOD which involves measuring the dissolved oxygen used by microorganism to biodegrade organic compounds was generally low and did not exceed 350 mg/l. Such low BOD values relative to COD can be attributed to the dyes toxic effect onmicrobial activity. The pH of the tested wastewaters ranged from3.8 to as high as 11.9. The salinitymeasurement as EC ranged from0.4 to 19.6/ dS/m. Such wide range in pH and EC is likely to be attributed to the use of different chemical including the dyes. The textile plants had a detrimental effect on the quality of adjacent soils expressed by chemo-physical properties such as pH and EC of the soil as well as the biological activity of the soil. The dyes showed devastating effect on beneficial soil microorganisms such as Rhizobium, Azotobacter and yeast. On contrary fungi showed a strong resistance to the dye toxicity. This strengthens the ideas of studying the fungal strains to identify the potential fungal candidates for dyes removal and biodegradation.

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