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05 February 2014
A hidden opportunity: Collaborative Development of teaching and learning in Environmental Geochemistry and Health at the Department of Geology, University of Calabar, Nigeria

 

The topic of Environmental Geochemistry has existed as a postgraduate course of study in the Department of Geology, University of Calabar in Nigeria for the past eighteen years. After my Commonwealth Academic Fellowship in 2008-2009, hosted by Prof A.S Hursthouse at the School of Science, University of the West of Scotland, I became a member of SEGH. The skills acquired during this period and as a registered member of SEGH, we decided to review the existing environmental geochemistry curriculum during my tenure as the Head of Department in 2012, since being established in 1976, its first female to hold that post.

 

Through my colleagues in SEGH, I was able to consult widely with members of the International SEGH board to review and gather opinion on the programme topics and syllabus content. This exercise was of great help and a real benefit to get feedback from the environmental geochemistry and health community, giving a real international perspective. It has helped to provide a good justification for changes to the programme in discussion with our University. The course was approved as an area of specialization under Environmental Geoscience section starting from 2013/2014 session. It is among the courses currently being advertised by the graduate school for this session and it will be in cooperated into the new graduate school brochure of the University to help to give it a wider publicity. It is anticipated that in future this will be extended to the undergraduate level when the curriculum will be reviewed as well.

We also hope that with further support from the members of SEGH we will be able to carry out some collaborative research where we lack the necessary laboratory facilities and some graduate students will be able to benefit from the expertise of SEGH members as the need arises.

At this juncture, I would like to thank members of SEGH for their input in structuring of the curriculum.

 

Dr Therese Nganje

University of Calabar

 

 

Pictures:

  1. Dr Therese Nganje with Departmental alumni, 2012
  2. Students of the Department of Geology, University of Calabar, 2012
  3. University of Calabar
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Latest on-line papers from the SEGH journal: Environmental Geochemistry and Health

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  • Chemical fractionation of heavy metals in fine particulate matter and their health risk assessment through inhalation exposure pathway 2018-12-11

    Abstract

    Samples of PM2.5 were collected from an urban area close to a national highway in Agra, India and sequentially extracted into four different fractions: water soluble (F1), reducible (F2), oxidizable (F3) and residual fraction (F4) for chemical fractionation of arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), cobalt (Co), chromium (Cr), nickel (Ni) and lead (Pb). The metals were analyzed by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy in each fraction. The average mass concentration of PM2.5 was 93 ± 24 μg m−3.The total concentrations of Cr, Pb, Ni, Co, As and Cd in fine particle were 192 ± 54, 128 ± 25, 108 ± 34, 36 ± 6, 35 ± 5 and 8 ± 2 ng m−3, respectively. Results indicated that Cd and Co had the most bioavailability indexes. Risk Assessment Code and contamination factors were calculated to assess the environmental risk. The present study evaluated the potential Pb hazard to young children using the Integrated Exposure Uptake Biokinetic Model. From the model, the probability density of PbB (blood lead level) revealed that at the prevailing atmospheric concentration, 0.302 children are expected to have PbB concentrations exceeding 10 μg dL−1 and an estimated IQ (intelligence quotient) loss of 1.8 points. The predicted blood Pb levels belong to Group 3 (PbB < 5 μg dL−1). Based on the bioavailable fractions, carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risks via inhalation exposure were assessed for infants, toddlers, children, males and females. The hazard index for potential toxic metals was 2.50, which was higher than the safe limit (1). However, the combined carcinogenic risk for infants, toddlers, children, males and females was marginally higher than the precautionary criterion (10−6).

  • Effects of steel slag and biochar amendments on CO 2 , CH 4 , and N 2 O flux, and rice productivity in a subtropical Chinese paddy field 2018-12-07

    Abstract

    Steel slag, a by-product of the steel industry, contains high amounts of active iron oxide and silica which can act as an oxidizing agent in agricultural soils. Biochar is a rich source of carbon, and the combined application of biochar and steel slag is assumed to have positive impacts on soil properties as well as plant growth, which are yet to be validated scientifically. We conducted a field experiment for two rice paddies (early and late paddy) to determine the individual and combined effects of steel slag and biochar amendments on CO2, CH4, and N2O emission, and rice productivity in a subtropical paddy field of China. The amendments did not significantly affect rice yield. It was observed that CO2 was the main greenhouse gas emitted from all treatments of both paddies. Steel slag decreased the cumulative CO2 flux in the late paddy. Biochar as well as steel slag + biochar treatment decreased the cumulative CO2 flux in the late paddy and for the complete year (early and late paddy), while steel slag + biochar treatment also decreased the cumulative CH4 flux in the early paddy. The biochar, and steel slag + biochar amendments decreased the global warming potential (GWP). Interestingly, the cumulative annual GWP was lower for the biochar (55,422 kg CO2-eq ha−1), and steel slag + biochar (53,965 kg CO2-eq ha−1) treatments than the control (68,962 kg CO2-eq ha−1). Total GWP per unit yield was lower for the combined application of steel slag + biochar (8951 kg CO2-eq Mg−1 yield) compared to the control (12,805 kg CO2-eq Mg−1 yield). This study suggested that the combined application of steel slag and biochar could be an effective long-term strategy to reduce greenhouse gases emission from paddies without any detrimental effect on the yield.