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Graduate Student , Department of Botany & Biotechnology, University of Ibadan


Investigating the impact of waste practices in developing countries on food yield and quality.

In developing countries and emerging economies, waste disposal in dumpsites is an increasingly common practice, and generates large volumes of leachates as a result of waste decomposition and percolation of rainwater. This has become one of the most intractable environmental problems in this region. Operation of open dumpsites has proved to be a major climate change issue and by extension a food insecurity issue. Landfill leachates from dumpsites percolate into groundwater serving agricultural communities with consequent effect on food crop production. Typically, developing countries are faced with technical, economical and social constraints limiting the integration of proven waste solutions into their daily operations. While the emerging economies countries have little or meagre concern for waste management best practices. Local authorities largely do not have budgetary support to handle wastes in appropriate manner. Thereby necessitating the operation of dumpsites built on the folklore theory of ‘…out of sight, out of mind’. The United Nations has projected world population to reach over 9 billion by 2050 and as a result, demand for food crop will surge rapidly. Low crop production induced by climate change is a major global concern and developing countries may be worst hit. The US-EPA (2016) has recently reiterated the relationship between climate change inducing waste practices and food insecurity. Having adequate knowledge of how the dumpsites interact and impact food production is imperative if we are to produce sufficient food to feed over 9 billion human population by the mid 21st Century. This study is therefore proposed to provide understanding of many of the key impact of dumpsites leaches on crop production in terms of quality, crop yield, plant biodiversity, and time of land availability for reuse after serving as landfill/dumpsite. Plant materials have been used successfully in the assessment of genotoxicity of industry specific solid wastes. Nevertheless, a tailored assessment of dumpsites leachates on the cytogenetic endpoints of food crops and its influence on food security should be studied.

This could play key role in future city planning, aid advocacy for climate change mitigation strategies and sustainable food security programs. In this study, selected food crops (Maize and Tomato) will be evaluated on the active Olusosun dumpsite in Lagos, Nigeria and on old landfill sites in the City of Braunschweig, Germany.