Assessment of the environmental situation of Albanian rivers based on physico-chemical analyses


Water quality parameters and heavy metal levels were monitored during 2002 –2004 on eight campaigns along the most impacted rivers of the Albanian Adriatic lowlands:the Mati with its tributary Fani,Ishmi with its tributaries Lana and Tirana,the Shkumbini,and the Semani with its tributaries Gjanica and Osumi (Fig.1).Water samples were analysed for general physico-chemical parameters,concentrations of nutrients,and levels of heavy metals (Pb,Cd,Cu,Zn,Fe,Mn,Cr,Ni,Hg).Several sediments and biota (algae)samples were analysed for heavy metals,too. Assessment of environmental quality of waters is based on two “quality standards ”:the classification of the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA 1997)[4 ]and the European Community Directive (EEC/EEAC/EC 78/659)on “Quality of fresh waters supporting fish life ”[5 ].Obtained data have been reported recently [1,2,3 ].The most critical chemical parameters for nearly all studied rivers found:(a)Total suspended solids (TSS)in excess of 25 mg/L in many sampling points,due to the intensive erosion of the land;(b)High nutrient concentrations in rivers near big towns.Very low dissolved oxygen (eutrophication)was found in the river Ishmi near Tirana city and the river Semani near Fieri city, caused by the discharges of untreated sewage waste-waters.The most polluted rivers for nearly all parameters were the Lana (tributary of the Ishmi)and the Gjanica (tributary of Semani).The conclusions from the chemical analyses are very similar to those found in a parallel study of biological parameters for diatoms in the framework of this study. Systematic monitoring programs are urgently needed to understand the present environmental state of Albanian rivers and other aquatic ecosystems to characterize the main sources of pollution and to lay the basis for political guidelines to improve the ecological situation.

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