KARI-NARL-KSS M 95 2008 - The Impacts of the Lime Processing Factory on Soil Quality and Fertility in Kaloleni Area, Coast Province, Kenya

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Kenya Agricultural Research Institute
Interactions between the lime processing factory and soil fertility were examined in terms of the change in soil quality attributes, which determine soil fertility and productivity, with the distance from the factory. The soils within one kilometer radius of the factory were delineated, characterized, mapped and classified, based on the methods provided by Kenya Soil Survey Staff and FAO standard methods. The quality of the soils was examined in terms of the attributes that are relatively sensitive to change due to the factory's influence. The influence of the factory was categorized into two: that which affects the environmental buffer and flows for air, water, nutrients and chemicals, and that which affects the chemical characteristics that determine the biophysical processes and productivity of soils. For the former, the attributes examined were bulk density and hydraulic conductivity, while soil pH, N, P, K, Ca, and Mg were examined for the latter. The soils around the factory were found to be extremely compact with very high bulk density (1.7 glee) and relatively low hydraulic conductivity, in the order of 0.02 to 1.2 cm/hour. The hydraulic conductivity increased with the distance from the factory with the value of 2.17 cm/hour measured at the longest distance (l kilometer) from the factory. The change in chemical attributes followed a reverse trend with the distance from the factory as follows: soil pH was +54%, while N, P and K were +25%, +80% and +43% respectively. This was indicative of the increases in soil fertility and productivity with the decrease in the distance from the factory. Similarly Ca and Mg increased with the decrease in the distance from the factory with the magnitude of 95% and 25% respectively. This explains why the pH of these acid soils increased from 4.8 to 7.4. Therefore, the overall impact of the factory on soil quality and productivity was positive.