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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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    Abstract

    Seasonal algal bloom, a water supply issue worldwide, can be efficiently solved by membrane technology. However, membranes typically suffer from serious fouling, which hinders the wide application of this technology. In this study, the feasibility of adding Ca2+ to control membrane fouling in coagulation–membrane treatment of algal-rich water was investigated. According to the results obtained, the normalized membrane flux decreased by a lower extent upon increasing the concentration of Ca2+ from 0 to 10 mmol/L. Simultaneously, the floc particle size increased significantly with the concentration of Ca2+, which leads to a lower hydraulic resistance. The coagulation performance is also enhanced with the concentration of Ca2+, inducing a slight osmotic pressure-induced resistance. The formation of Ca2+ coagulation flocs resulted in a looser, thin, and permeable cake layer on the membrane surface. This cake layer rejected organic pollutants and could be easily removed by physical and chemical cleaning treatments, as revealed by scanning electron microscopy images. The hydraulic irreversible membrane resistance was significantly reduced upon addition of Ca2+. All these findings suggest that the addition of Ca2+ may provide a simple-operation, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly technology for controlling membrane fouling during coagulation–membrane process for algal-rich water treatment.

  • Evaluation of the raw water quality: physicochemical and toxicological approaches 2019-04-13

    Abstract

    Environmental degradation has increased, mainly as a result of anthropogenic effects arising from population, industrial and agricultural growth. Water pollution is a problem that affects health, safety and welfare of the whole biota which shares the same environment. In Goiânia and metropolitan region, the main water body is the Meia Ponte River that is used for the abstraction of water, disposal of treated wastewater and effluents. In addition, this river receives wastewater from urban and rural areas. The aim in this present study was to evaluate the quality of raw water by some physical, chemical and toxicological tests. The physicochemical results found high levels of turbidity, conductivity, aluminum, phosphorus and metal iron, manganese, copper and lithium when compared to the standards of the Brazilian legislation. The values found of toxicity demonstrated a high degree of cytotoxicity and genotoxicity. Therefore, it was concluded that the Meia Ponte River has been undergoing constant environmental degradation, causing the poor quality of its waters. Thus, measures for the prevention and recovery should be adopted for the maintenance of the Meia Ponte River.

  • Review of the nature of some geophagic materials and their potential health effects on pregnant women: some examples from Africa 2019-04-11

    Abstract

    The voluntary human consumption of soil known as geophagy is a global practice and deep-rooted in many African cultures. The nature of geophagic material varies widely from the types to the composition. Generally, clay and termite mound soils are the main materials consumed by geophagists. Several studies revealed that gestating women across the world consume more soil than other groups for numerous motives. These motivations are related to medicinal, cultural and nutrients supplementation. Although geophagy in pregnancy (GiP) is a universal dynamic habit, the highest prevalence has been reported in African countries such as Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda, Nigeria, Tanzania, and South Africa. Geophagy can be both beneficial and detrimental. Its health effects depend on the amount and composition of the ingested soils, which is subjective to the geology and soil formation processes. In most cases, the negative health effects concomitant with the practice of geophagy eclipse the positive effects. Therefore, knowledge about the nature of geophagic material and the health effects that might arise from their consumption is important.