An Investigation into the Management of Pharmaceutical Wastewater in Kenya

  • Anne W. Njuguna
  • Alfred O Mayabi
  • Wangai Ndirangu


The pharmaceutical industry manufactures biological products and medicinal drugs, which may pass into the environment as the parent compound or as active metabolites, referred to as Pharmaceutically Active Compounds (PhACs). PhACs can enter into the environment through numerous scattered points, but the main sources of contamination are pharmaceutical production plants and hospital effluents. The presence of PhACs in the environment is a growing concern because of their toxicity, bio-accumulating tendency, and threat to the environment. Pharmaceutical effluent also contains a substantial amount of suspended solids and Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), which need to be reduced to acceptable levels before disposal. The pharmaceutical industry in Kenya has been growing over the years and the country is currently the largest producer of pharmaceutical products in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) region, supplying about 50 per cent of the region’s market. This has resulted in an increase in the volume and variety of the wastewater produced and consequently the negative effects in the eco-system and human life. Currently, there is limited literature on the management of pharmaceutical effluent in Kenya. Therefore, the aim of this study is to investigate and evaluate the generation and characteristics of pharmaceutical wastewater in Kenya and the pre-treatment methods employed by different factories, to ensure proper management of the effluent so as to minimize contamination and ecosystem disruptions. Data was collected through observation of the manufacturing processes and wastewater treatment facilities in sampled factories as well as interviews and questionnaires given to technical personnel in charge of effluent treatment plants in the factories. In addition to this, laboratory tests were carried out on sampled wastewater from the factories.
Feb 19, 2020
How to Cite
NJUGUNA, Anne W.; MAYABI, Alfred O; NDIRANGU, Wangai. An Investigation into the Management of Pharmaceutical Wastewater in Kenya. Proceedings of Sustainable Research and Innovation Conference, [S.l.], p. 126-131, feb. 2020. ISSN 2079-6226. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 06 apr. 2020.