Environment, Agriculture and Bio-resource Management Research Group (EABM )

Name of Research Group: Environment, Agriculture and Bio-resource Management Research Group (EABM).
Municipalities have failed to manage polyethylene wastes probably due to financial factors and attitude of our people to land use management and environmental issues. Recycling makes a nation or individual to recover money otherwise lost through pollution, burning and burrying of waste materials. This polyethlene waste recycling will complement the International concern for environment and our government’s campaign against deforestation and Ozone Layer depletion which leads to climate change. It will reduce environmental pollution caused by polyethlene materials littering the streets, bus stops, schools, markets and blocking our drainages. Used polyethylene bags and plastic materials littered in the farm lands reduce agriculture productivities of such lands. Removing these materials from the farms for recycling will create job opportunities, improve the soil structure, increase crop yield potential of the land and consequently contribute to national food security
Inadequate waste disposal facilities or total absence of it especially in rural areas make people throw away waste plastic materials (polyethylene bags, broken plastic buckets, bottles, plates, sachets, spoons etc.) into farm lands, water ways, schools, hospitals and other public places. Some of the thrown away paper/bags contain decomposable materials with potential odor that cause environmental pollution. These polyethylenes themselves are none degradable in the soil and no doubt contaminate agricultural soils and block drainage systems. It is observable that Nigerians are more interested in waste disposal and less concerned with waste management. Therefore, farmers spend so much time sorting refuse in the farm because some of them do not even burn easily. In some cases farm lands are lost to improper waste disposal and lack of waste management culture. Converting these materials into useful products through recycling as waste management option can bring tremendous benefits to agriculture and sustainable land management in the long run. In addition there are the benefits of a cleaner environment, revenue generation, a healthier habitat and an intelligent use of all available recyclable resources without condemning them as wastes (Prakash, et al., 2007).
Solid waste management has remained an intractable environmental sanitation problem in Nigeria. This problem has manifested in the form of piles of indiscriminately disposed heaps of uncovered waste and illegal dumpsites along major roads and at street corners in our cities, urban and semi-urban areas. The major cause of these is that as developing nations become more technologically advanced, materials that withstand extreme temperatures, durable and easy to use are produced (WHO, 2010a). Some of these materials are nylon/polyethlene bags, plastic bags/bottles, synthetics, bottles, tin cans, computer hardwares, etc. But we foget that these advanced products do not break down naturally with air, moisture or soil. This is because they are not biodegradable. This problem is compounded by the rapid urbanization and population growth which has led to the generation of enormous quantities of solid waste that are often discarded by open dumping. Wilson et al, (2008) descrided open dumping of wastes as a primitive stage of waste disposal, practiced by 3/4 of countries round the world.
Open dumps are the major causes of environmental degradation and public health concerns in many developing countries including Nigeria. There are a number of risks and impacts of the dumpsites on the environment and consequently on agriculture (USEPA, 2010). For instance, air pollution from open burning, due to emission os green house gases such as methane and carbon dioxide as well as leachates generated as a result of decomposition of wastes may contaminate air, soil moisture and grounwater sources. Fire hazards and explosions, emission of green house gases, rats and fly infestations, malodour, etc from open dumps degrade the environment and cause great public health risks as well (WHO, 2010b). Wastes in many dumpsites are directly increasing global concern over the public health and agricultural impacts attributed to environmental pollution, particularly the environmental quality and human health risks associated with the waste dumps (WASTE, 2004). The World Health Organization (WHO) (2010c) estimated that about a quater of the diseases facing mankind today occur due to prolonged exposure to environmental pollution.
Unfortunately, there seem to be no clear cut guidelines at the national and state levels on how to deal with these wastes in a sustainable manner, particularly in developng countries where ironically the burden of environmental pollution seems to be highest (Mba, 2007). Moreover, proper value added waste management strategy or programme means sustainable income generating activity to the teeming growing youth population of today (Faccio et al, 2011). The intention of this programme is to sustainably manage an aspect of waste (polythene materials) generated in Nsukka agro-ecological zone (which comprises of seven local government areas in Enugu state), through recycling since there is no such venture in this part of the country. This will help to reduce open dumping and burrying of wastes which causes environmental pollution, health risk, agricultural soil pollution and underground water polluton and consequently create employments for the youths.
Recycling is the reprocessing of discarded materials into new useful products. In other words, it involes the processing of used materials into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials (Manaf et al, 2009). It is usually a better alternative to either dumping or burning of wastes.  It saves money, energy, raw materials and land space, while also reducing pollution. Waste polyethlene recycling on the order hand is an act of treating waste polythene materials like used pure water sachets and other wasste polythene materials in such a way that they can be used again for either as a raw material for extruder houses for production of another fresh nylons like jumbo type or for treatment.
Research Focus
1. Improve the environmental quality through waste polythene recycling.
2. Improve and increase agricultural soil for increased crop productivity in the area.
3. Creation of job for skilled and unskilled youth populaton in the area.
4. Supply raw materials to small scale polythene industries outside Nsukka agro-ecological zone.
5. Supply low cost finished polythene products to the market.
The land and human resources will be located at Nsukka area of Enugu State. The housing, water supply and other variables will be located in Nsukka. Nsukka is the recycling centre while polyethylene collection deports will be sited at 3 strategic positions in Enugu State. The materials will be purchased from the vendors who supply to agent at the deport. These materials will be conveyed to Nsukka using Dina truck for recycling. There will be one site manager at Nsukka recycling center and one collation agent in each of the collation centres in all the Local governments of Enugu State. There will be one operator for each of the recycling machines and two sales’ agents.
Facilities available for this study/project includes land, housing, multidisciplinary expertise, waste polyethylene wastes, machineries, water and market for the output. The materials will be washed, crushed, dried and pelleted at the Nsukka recycling centre.
The project will enhance job opportunities for the teeming and growing youth population in south eastern Nigeria. It will save money, energy, raw materials and land space. In the case of land space, it will not only improve the quality of agricultural land by the removal of polyethlene materials but also increase agricultural land in the area. It will reduce energy consumption and environmental pollution. Waste polyethlene recycling could save 50-60 percent of the energy needed to make new ones. Moreover, if polyethlene/nylon recovery is eventually achieved in our environment through this project, the major environmental pollutants would have been eliminated. It will help reduce litter which is a costly and unsightly problem in our environment.
Waste polyetheene materials will be recycled into polyethlene/nylon bags and jumbo polyethlene sheets and the markets for it is growing and is sustainable. They will eventually be used in packaging of flour, sugar and salts, as truck cover and by plastic industries as raw materials. In agricultural sector, the product will be used as shelter and bagging of seedlings, animal feeds and fertilizers
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C0mposition of the Group and their CVs
1. Dr. Kevin Ikechukwu Ugwuoke   (Crop Scientist)  1 – 7
2. Dr. Peter Ikemufuna Ezeaku -(Soil Scienctist)  8 – 26
3. Dr. Simon Chinedu Eze – (Crop Scientist)  28 – 32
4. Dr. Festus U. Agbo – (Agric Economist) – 33 – 39
5. Nwakaire, Joel Nwaeze. – (Agric Engineer)  40 – 47
6. MBA Chinedu Lilian  – (Environmental Scientist)- 48 – 49
7. ALUM OGECHI LILIAN – (Chemist)   50 – 60
8. Prof. Charles A. Aasadu – ( Soil Scientist)  61 –  81