****Through a project titled, “Adding value to agro/bio-waste through integrating technologies to enhance sustainable agro-process waste management in Uganda”, the researcher led by Dr Joseph Kyambadde from the Department of Biochemistry and Sports Science, have proposed a number of technologies that can be used to avert the challenge of poor waste management in the country.
Majority of industries in the country such as dairies, abattoirs, breweries, distilleries, and tanneries are engaged in agro-processing. Such industrial processing often leads to the discharge of large quantities of organic-rich wastewater, disease-causing micro-organisms, and greenhouse gas emissions, if poorly treated or managed. While the regulatory body, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) requires that all industries should efficiently treat their effluent to meet discharge standards, waste treatment technology market surveys that were carried out in the major industrial cities of Kampala, Jinja, Masaka and Mbarara in 2018 showed that most agro-process industries do not treat their wastewater. Furthermore, very few have in there effluent treatment management, resource recovery processes such as bio-digesters for recovering biogas and nutrient-rich bio-slurry. The industries that attempt to treat their effluent mainly use conventional systems, such as settling tanks and lagoons that do not efficiently remove all waste components. Additionally, industries require energy for their operations, but many use non-renewable sources, such as wood fuel, contributing to deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions. Consequently, the agro-process industries pollute the environment, contaminate drinking water sources, and pathogens from their wastes contribute to cases of diarrheal diseases. The agro-processing sector urgently needs technology solutions that would meet national environment regulatory requirements at affordable costs, but also incorporate resource recovery and reuse to protect the environment and also enhance their profit margins. However, many industries lack cost-effective technologies to convert their wastes into biogas or other useful by-products such as slurry for use as manure/bio-fertilizers. The industries also lack expertise to design and operate appropriate waste treatment technologies.
Addressing the challenge of poor waste management
Agro/bio wastes are organic-rich, hence can be biodegraded using appropriately designed integrated technologies. These methods offer the options for meeting national discharge standards, reuse of treated effluent, and recovery of useful by-products. A study conducted by researchers from the College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University in collaboration with partners in the waste management sector proposes a number of technologies that can be deployed to effectively address the challenge of waste in the country. These include; anaerobic-aerobic digesters, sludge drying beds, constructed wetlands, and duckweed growing units.
Through their project titled “Adding value to agro/bio-waste through integrating technologies to enhance sustainable agro-process waste management in Uganda”, the researchers led by Dr Joseph Kyambadde from the Department of Biochemistry and Sports Science at Makerere made several recommendations towards waste management in the country. The researchers called for integration of aspects of the technology, encompassing wastes-to-energy courses/topics in the curricula of programmes like biochemistry, industrial chemistry, and environmental sciences at universities. This would enable training of scientists who would in turn foster adoption and promotion of the developed technologies in different industries. They also emphasized the need to promote investment in technologies that can be used to convert waste into useful by-products like biogas, bio-fertilizers and protein-additives, and to raise awareness about the importance of waste treatment technologies amongst private-public actors, managers/business owners of agro-processing industries, as well as government line ministries/agencies, and development partners.
Supported by the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF), the overall objective of the project was to contribute to climate change mitigation, environmental sustainability, and agricultural development through integrated waste management systems. Under the project, the research team developed nutrient-rich fertilizer and animal feeds, and supported the production of biogas and electricity. Other members on the project included; Dr. Robinson Odong (Co-Principal Investigator), Dr. Gertrude Muwanga (Economist), Eng. Charles Ddungu (Civil Works), Eng. Edward Kalule (Electricals), Mr. Bright Twesigye (Research Assistant), Mr. Sendi (Field Assistant), Mr. Kuman (Field Assistant), and CATDA (Project Host).
Research dissemination seminar
On 23rd January 2024, the project team held a seminar at Ridar Hotel, Mukono District to present their research findings/outputs to key stakeholders in the waste management sector such as industry, academia, and policy makers, and also receive feedback. At the meeting, the project PI, Dr. Joseph Kyambadde decried the high level of poor waste disposal in the country. Highlighting the support extended to City Abattoir Traders Development Association (CATDA), Dr Kyambadde said many industries were directly disposing effluent into water sources, posing a number health, environmental and economic risks. “Investing in waste treatment technologies would avert the risks, but also support the recovery of useful byproducts such as nutrient-rich slurry or biogas.” As one of the achievements registered, the project supported the construction of a wastewater treatment plant at Kampala City Abattoir. According Mr. David Mutebi, the PRO of Kampala City Abattoirs Hides and Skin Traders’ SACCO, before Makerere supported the construction of the plant, effluent used to be discharged in Nakivubo Channel, posing several health and environmental risks. Dr Kyambadde appreciated the Government for supporting the project which is envisaged to minimize poor waste disposal throughout the country.
As part of the strategies for sustainable agro-process waste management in the country, participants advocated for a comprehensive policy, a waste management fund, and incentives for investment in waste management technologies. They also called for a comprehensive curriculum for waste management, and a market development plan for waste products.
In his remarks, the Deputy Principal of CoNAS, Prof. Juma Kasozi appreciated the Government of Uganda for the support extended to the project. “Poor waste disposal is one of Uganda’s biggest challenges. I commend the research team for venturing into research that directly addresses the country’s development problems.” He called for increased investment to support initiatives aimed at managing waste from industries and other places.
15 PhD Positions: Human River Systems in the 21st century
Highly qualified applicants from all over the world are invited to apply for the PhD Program “Human River systems in the 21st century (HR21)”. The 15 positions are fully funded and the Doctoral Programme is providing additional resources for conference presentations, retreats etc.
The 15 PhD research topics are:
- Topic 1: Role of hydrological extremes (floods) for sediment transport and morphodynamics in the human-river system
- Topic 2: Material resources demand and flows of hydraulic structures to prevent societal impact of extreme events (social ecology, environmental history)
- Topic 3: Intermittent flow – hydrological effects and impacts on benthic communities, ecological state and functioning of riverine systems
- Topic 4: Drought, low flow and warming – hydrological effects and impacts on the ecological state and functioning of river systems
- Topic 5: Water transit time distributions as indicators for the vulnerability of riverine ecosystems under different pressures from social metabolism
- Topic 6: Analyzing possible contributions of re-activated former watercourses towards a more sustainable transformation of industrialized riverine landscapes in urban areas
- Topic 7: The role of the latest industrial revolutions on instream processes and ecological vulnerability of IRL
- Topic 8: The effects of infrastructure development on ecological and ecosystem service network properties in river systems
- Topic 9: The impact of urban settlements on organic matter and nutrient flows in industrialized riverine landscapes – What can we learn from the past?
- Topic 10: Urban metabolism, a river’s ecohydrology and industrialization: Vienna and the Danube, 1800-2000
- Topic 11: Impact of external organic matter sources on nutrient, sediment and water transport from cropland into streams
- Topic 12: Impacts of bioenergy crops used as riparian buffer strips on stream ecosystems’ functioning
- Topic 13: Sustainable hydropower & and the water-energy-food nexus in multi-stressed IRLs: Challenges and solutions for science & management
- Topic 14: Integrated modelling of farmers’ climate change impact and adaptation appraisal to inform regional human river nexus management
- Topic 15: Strategic planning approaches to territorial governance of industrialized riverine landscapes
For more information, please visit: https://short.boku.ac.at/q9ry2k
Application deadline: 2nd April 2024
Dr. Tugume Patience Wins OWSD Early Career Fellowship
Dr Tugume Patience, a Lecturer in the Department of Plant Sciences, Microbiology and Biotechnology at the College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University is one of the 28 women who have been granted the 2023 OWSD Early Career Fellowship. These scientists will receive up to USD50,000 to lead research projects and establish research groups at their home institutions in 16 countries in the developing world, to maintain an international standard of research and attract scholars from all over the world to collaborate. Funding for the fellowships is generously provided by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC).
During the 3-year fellowship, fellows will receive specific training to build on their leadership and management skills and develop connections with a variety of public and private sector partners to potentially convert their research into marketable products or guarantee its impact on a broader scale. By improving their communication and outreach skills, fellows will also learn to effectively present their research to various audiences, thus attracting new collaborators and potential funders to ensure the sustainability of the research project.
Dr Tugume’s Project – Biological Systems and Organisms
This project will use various forms of bio-wastes from households and urban centres in Uganda as raw materials for production of biogas, as well as an eco-friendly bio-fertilizer and bio-pesticide. Large amounts of unconsumed food are often thrown away in homes and urban centres that could be converted into useful products that would supply energy, enhance agricultural productivity and reduce deforestation. This project will construct anaerobic bio-digester tanks to process different kinds of bio-waste into biogas, a renewable energy source, and evaluate yields of biogas from different bio-wastes and combinations of bio-wastes. It will additionally produce a bio-fertilizer to enrich soil and a bio-pesticide to manage agricultural pests. The project will also equip households with the skills to biologically convert wastes into value-added products, training women and youth in biogas production and usage.
Details on the fellowships at: https://owsd.net/news/news-events/introducing-2023-owsd-early-career-fellows
Congratulations Dr Tugume
CoSTClim – NORPART Call for Applications for Masters Student Mobility to Norway 2024
Makerere University (MAK) in collaboration with Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Uganda Martyrs University (UMU) and Regional Universities Forum (for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) are implementing a five-year CoSTClim project (Collaborative Action for Strengthening Training Capacities in Climate Risk and Natural Resource management). The main goal of the project is to improve the quality of training, education and research at the partner institutions with a dedicated focus on climate risk, disaster risk management and natural resource management. CoSTClim builds on a range of other capacity development projects funded by the Norwegian Government at the partner institutions, and has a specific focus on education.
One of the components of CoSTClim is student mobility from Uganda to Norway and from Norway to Uganda. Therefore, we are inviting applicants from Makerere University for Masters student mobility scholarships to NTNU for the Autumn semester in 2024. There are five mobility scholarship slots available for this year. The scholarship will cover 5 months (August-December 2024) stay at NTNU in Trondheim, Norway. The successful candidates can enroll in selected course units at NTNU as well as leveraging the stay to write their master’s thesis. The width and breadth of available course units from which the candidates can select are found: https://www.ntnu.edu/geography/exchange-students
Limited research supervision will also be given by NTNU staff but the primary supervision responsibility stays with the allocated supervisors at Makerere University or Uganda Martyrs University.
Eligibility and requirements for the mobility applicants
a) The applicant should be a fully registered student in a relevant Masters programme at
Makerere University or Uganda Martyrs University, which aligns to the CostClim
thematic focus area.
b) The focus of the research of the applicant should align strongly to climate risk, disaster
risk management, natural resource management or agriculture.
c) The applicant should be progressing well on the masters programme and within the
stated duration of the programme (2-3years).
Interested and eligible Masters students should send the following;
a) A one page application letter
b) A motivation statement and plan for the time at NTNU (1-2 pages)
c) A letter from the Head of Department attesting to your registration, study status and
progress on your programme.
d) Copies of your undergraduate transcript and partial transcript or HOD endorsed
results for your current studies.
Application with all the required documents should be submitted by email to the contacts
below in one message.
- Yazidhi Bamutaze (for applicants from MAK)- firstname.lastname@example.org
- Runyararo Jolyn Rukarwa – email@example.com
- Charlotte Nakakawa Jjunju – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Joseph Sekandi email@example.com
Short listed applicants will be invited to complete educational procedures at NTNU under the
exchange arrangement. A scholarship
The application deadline is Thursday 29th February 2024.
For further details, kindly download the document by following this link.
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