Meeting Format

The SETAC Africa 11th Biennial Conference will be organised as a physical event in Accra, Ghana (with no virtual components). 

This conference brings together environmental scientists from all over the world and offers a unique opportunity to gain knowledge on cutting-edge developments regarding environmental toxicology and chemistry as well as make new connections with other scientists from academia, industry and government involved in environmental research and policies. The conference will include a range of scientific sessions, plenary speakers, workshops, poster sessions and much more, all within the overarching theme of “Environmental Data-Driven Policies for Innovation and Sustainable Development.” Furthermore, the meeting offers multiple networking opportunities, both by connecting with peers as well as meeting organisations and learning about the latest products and services of exhibitors. 

Meeting Theme 

The numerous environmental challenges confronting the African continent necessitates evidence-based policy decisions. Although most environmental issues are not peculiar to Africa, the continent’s challenges are severe, posing significant risks to the quality of life of its 1.4 billion people. Overcoming these environmental challenges and improving decision-making on sustainable resource utilisation requires quality data. However, critical data for national, regional, and global development is either lacking, underutilised or located in repositories and formats that are not easily accessible, hence limiting their use in decision-making. In line with SETAC’s mission to promote environmental science and management through scientific collaboration, communication, education, and leadership, the SETAC Africa 11th Biennial Conference aims to bring awareness of the environmental challenges in Africa and across the globe. The meeting will attempt to integrate ideas and solutions to existing challenges using data acquired through research, industry, indigenous knowledge systems, government and key spaces in the environmental science discipline. The meeting will draw on data, ideas and experiences from Africa and other continents to help provide leadership in decision-making in the African region with a focus on resource efficiency, nature-based solutions, data management, digitisation, artificial intelligence, and circular economies. The integration of ideas is expected to help inform policymaking and will have the potential to significantly improve the quality of life while delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals. The meeting calls for sessions covering a broad scope of environmental challenges, innovations, approaches, experiences, and solutions that will help provide quality data for improved decision-making.

Tracks & Sessions

1. Aquatic Toxicology and Ecology

1.01 – Biomonitoring and Deposition of Pollutants and their Impacts in Aquatic Ecosystems

1.01 – Biomonitoring and Deposition of Pollutants and their Impacts in Aquatic Ecosystems | Nwakanma Chioma, Ogbulie Toochukwu Ekwutosi, Unachukwu Marian Nneka, Matilda Ntowa Bissah 

1.02 – Ecological and Human Health Risk Assessment of Legacy and Emerging Contaminants in Africa

1.02 – Ecological and Human Health Risk Assessment of Legacy and Emerging Contaminants in Africa | Beatrice Opeolu, Gabriel Dedeke, Enock Dankyi, Patricia Bi Asanga Fai

The global population’s exponential growth, particularly in impoverished regions, has led to an increased demand for food, shelter, goods, and services. This surge exerts immense pressure on natural resources, including aquatic environments. While resource extraction activities contribute to wealth and improved quality of life, they also harm human beings and ecological systems. As water scarcity becomes more pronounced and climate change-induced events such as droughts, famines, wildfires, floods, and diseases intensify, the strain on these crucial natural resources escalates. Unfortunately, developing nations often lack access to climate change adaptation strategies, mitigation measures, and technologies. Consequently, it is imperative to investigate and promote sustainable and responsible utilisation of resources. Aquatic ecosystems harbour numerous pollutants classified as legacy and emerging contaminants, including heavy metals, phenolic compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, perfluorinated compounds, plastics (macro-, meso-, and microplastics), pharmaceuticals, and nanomaterials, among others. They also include naturally occurring chemical compounds, biological agents, and physical phenomena that have recently been identified as posing dangers to the environment and human health. These pollutants enter the environment through waste discharges from agricultural farms, industrial facilities, wastewater treatment plants, and household products. Their presence can adversely affect ecosystem functions when organisms ingest, leading to potential health risks. For instance, the ingestion of plastics can harm aquatic organisms' digestive tract, respiratory system, and locomotive appendages. Additionally, persistent organic pollutants adhering to plastics can cause ecological disruptions. Furthermore, the synergistic effects of these contaminants on ecological health are a cause for concern, as they can accumulate in organisms, particularly aquatic predators, and propagate through food webs. Human health risks associated with contaminants encompass a range of issues such as eye and respiratory tract irritation, acute skin rashes, birth defects, indigestion, liver dysfunction, and the release of estrogenic compounds, classifying them as endocrine disruptors. Moreover, many of these contaminants are potential carcinogens and can induce changes in insulin resistance, reproductive systems, and brain function. While water quality assessments often rely on chemical analyses, they often overlook chemicals' additive, synergistic, or antagonistic effects and their bioavailability. Therefore, this session welcomes abstracts that explore the current knowledge, effects, and exposure assessments related to legacy and emerging contaminants in Africa. It also encourages the presentation of effect-based methods, screening tools for contaminants of emerging concern, trends, challenges, knowledge gaps, and proposals for regulatory frameworks and guidelines for managing emerging contaminants. Given their presence in the environment, toxicity, bioaccumulative properties, and the unknown effects of their by-products, conducting risk assessments of these CECs on animals and humans in Africa has become crucial. This session welcomes research on various aspects of risk assessment, such as hazard characterisation, effects and exposure assessments, prospective or retrospective ecological and human health risk assessment studies, policy considerations, chemical-specific risk assessments, site-specific risk assessments, and risk management. By bringing together experts and stakeholders, this session aims to contribute to the formulation of policies for the environmental management of CECs in Africa, ultimately minimising or mitigating their potential adverse ecological impacts. Moreover, it will facilitate discussions on the future of Ecological Risk Assessment in Africa, providing valuable insights and guidance.


2. Terrestrial and Wildlife Toxicology and Ecology

2.01 – Trends in Legacy and Emerging Contaminants in Terrestrial Ecosystems

2.01 – Trends in Legacy and Emerging Contaminants in Terrestrial Ecosystems | Beatrice Opeolu, Otitoju Olawale 

The current scarcity of land, continual decline in available land resources and increasing poor soil quality and health were linked to global population explosion. These invariably led to increased urbanization and demand for more goods and services. In addition, land use practices, pollution, and ineffective regulatory processes were some of the factors that affect soil quality and health with adverse implications on human and ecological systems. There is therefore, the need to investigate and promote sustainable and responsible resource utilization.  Many pollutants found in soil, food (food webs) and biota are of anthropogenic origin and some may occur naturally at lethal levels due to geological formations of sites.  These include heavy metals, phenolic compounds, pharmaceuticals, nanomaterials, microplastics, PFCs, PBBs, PBDEs, and natural and synthetic hormones.  Many of which have been classified as endocrine disruptors. Low levels of some of the compounds may also exert immense pressure on the ecological balance of ecosystems. The presence of these compounds may trigger degradation of agricultural land, contaminated produces, biodiversity loss, disruption of ecosystem structure and function.   This session, therefore, solicits abstracts on method development, monitoring, remediation, and human and ecological risk assessment of legacy and emerging contaminants in soil. It is hoped that the session will attract researchers from across the globe to share insights on soil pollution, its implication and possible roadmap for effective chemical regulation in Africa and other developing countries.


3. Environmental Assessment and Management

3.01 – The Management of Contaminants of Emerging Concern in Developing Countries

3.01 – The Management of Contaminants of Emerging Concern in Developing Countries | Eunice Ubomba-Jaswa, Nonhlanhla Kalebaila

The release of chemicals, compounds and their mixtures into the environment has been recognised as major threat to human and ecosystem health. Substances that have only recently been identified as potential threats to the environment are not yet widely regulated by national or international law and are known as contaminants of emerging concern (CECs). Addressing the challenge of emerging pollutants is necessary in order to achieve sustainable development. Sustainable development goal (SDG) Target 12.4 relates to the need to reduce the release of chemicals to air, water and soil in order to minimise their adverse impacts on human health and the environment. This need for a sound management of chemicals and wastes to ensure environmental safety and sustainable development is further addressed in other related SDGs on water (Target 6.3), human health (target 3.3), ecosystem protection, poverty alleviation, sustainable consumption and production, and sustainable agriculture, amongst others. Low income populations in developing nations are some of the most vulnerable to exposures from hazardous substances due to lack of capacity and infrastructure to manage waste, unsustainable consumption patterns and weak regulations. In developing countries, the scientific understanding on the fate, transport and risk of emerging contaminants, individually and in combination, is limited, and thus identifying priority areas for policy action is therefore critical.    The identification, quantification and assessment of environmental risks associated with chemicals of emerging concern was identified as a priority area as part of the outcomes of the SETAC Global Horizon Scanning Project initiative (GHSP).  The aim of this session is to showcase and share knowledge and best practice on the identification and assessment of risks associated with priority pollutants of concern in less resourced environments. Topics that demonstrate successful early-warning platforms through the use of remote sensing and digital mapping for CECs as well as future scenario planning in light of climate change are strongly encouraged. This session will also serve as a platform for a multi-stakeholder discussion on science and policy approaches to better understand and sustainably manage the challenge of emerging pollutants to support the achievement of the SDGs in developing countries.     

3.02 – Ecotoxicology of Pesticides: Lethal and Sublethal Effects, Ecological Risk Assessment (EcoRA)

3.02 – Ecotoxicology of Pesticides: Lethal and Sublethal Effects, Ecological Risk Assessment (EcoRA)  | Daniel Brice Nkontcheu Kenko, Miranda Egbe Awo

Pesticides are substances or mixtures of substances destined to repel, destroy or fight against pests of plants or vectors of animal and human diseases (Mbiapo and Youovop 1990). Despite considerable increased pesticide use over the past decades, little research has been done into their fate and effects in the environment in tropical regions. The effects of pesticides can either be lethal (easy to appreciate) or sublethal (not easy to assess in routine experiments): cancer, tumours and lesions, reproduction inhibition or failure, suppression of the immune system, disruption of endocrine system, cellular and DNA damage, teratogenic effects, low red blood cells ratio, morphological effects, intergenerational effects. These various effects may be evaluated through biomonitoring, i.e., the use of biological responses to assess changes in the environment. Biomonitoring has many approaches including bioassays, ecological risk assessment (EcoRA) and community assessment.   A bioassay is a test in which a living tissue, organism or group of organisms is used as reagent for determination of the potency of any physiologically active substance of unknown activity (Reish and Oshida 1987). Bioassay is used to detect biological hazards or give a quality assessment of a mixture. Bioassay is often used to monitor water quality and also sewage discharge and its impact on surrounding.   Community assessment involves sampling the entire community of organisms to see what types of taxa remain. Community assessment in Ecology implies abundance, diversity, succession, structure and function.    Ecological Risk Assessment (EcoRA) involves the assessment of the risks posed by the presence of substances released to the environment by man, in theory, on all living organisms in the variety of ecosystems which make up the environment. EcoRAs tend to focus on the risks from chemicals and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).     References   Mbiapo F, Youovop G Pesticide use in agriculture, public health, and animal husbandry in Cameroon. In: Impact of Pesticide Use on Health in Developing Countries, Proceedings of a symposium held in Ottawa, Canada, 1990. p 114-117  Reish DL, Oshida PS (1987) Manual of methods in aquatic environment research, vol 247. Food & Agriculture Org.

3.03 – Biomass Valorization for Sustainable Waste Management and Clean Energy Generation in a Circular Economy Context

3.03 – Biomass Valorization for Sustainable Waste Management and Clean Energy Generation in a Circular Economy Context | Lawrence Ezemonye, Akanimo Odon, Isioma Tongo, Valerie Ofili-Edosa

Increased urbanization and industrial operations have made urban waste become one of the most contemporary environmental problems today. Global yearly waste generation is projected to increase from the 2.01 billion tons in 2016, to 3.40 billion tons by 2050. The waste industry accounts for 5% of worldwide GHG emissions, from open dumping and disposal in landfills without landfill gas capture technologies. Worldwide, 37% of waste is landfilled, while 33% is publicly dumped, posing a serious danger to environmental sustainability as well as a plethora of other difficult societal challenges. In addition, negative health effect resulting from improper wastewater management is another area of concern in developing countries. For instance, it is reported that sanitation problems contribute to the death of ~45,000 children per year from diarrhoea in sub-Saharan Africa. Furthermore, about 80% of global waste generated is not recycled, resulting in a loss of resource recovery potential. Thus, waste valorization is an attractive strategy that provides options to waste disposal. Methods such as anaerobic digestion, composting, vermicomposting, anaerobic fermentation, pyrolysis, gasification, add value to waste. The recovery of value-added products, such as materials, chemicals, and energy, contributes to global sustainability, which is based on a low carbon footprint, renewable energy, waste reduction, reduced pollution and GHG emissions, ecosystem and human health, sustainable agriculture practices, improved crop yield, etc. The adoption of waste valorization in developing countries in a circular economy context is vital for enhancing global sustainability as reflected the GCRF RECIRCULATE and ACTUATE projects with themes revolving around resource recovery for a safe circular water economy with intersecting water, energy, waste and food nexus.
Thus, this session aims to present cutting-edge information on approaches to waste valorization and their role in socioeconomic–environmental sustainability within the context of a circular economy. The scope of this session includes:

  • Waste application in agriculture (compost, vermicompost, biosolid/sludge, fly-ash, biochar, digestate, direct land application)
  • Waste amendment to soil and the implications for soil, ecology, microbiology, nutrient fate, plant physiology, biochemical and economic yield
  • Waste-to-energy conversion strategies in the context of anaerobic digestion, gasification, pyrolysis, anaerobic fermentation etc
  • Studies on biorefineries that facilitate the individual and co-generation of biochemicals, bioenergy and biomaterials from waste materials for industrial applications
  • Policy, technological, socio-economic aspects of waste valorization
  • Current trends in Waste Management
  • Water Purification
  • Artificial intelligence applications in environmental systems

3.04 – Linking Agenda 2063 and the United Nations SDGs through Research and Innovation to Stimulate a New Africa

3.04 – Linking Agenda 2063 and the United Nations SDGs through Research and Innovation to Stimulate a New Africa | Chioma Blaise Chikere, Gertie Arts, Memory Tekere, Chidinma Peace Okafor

The African Continent comprises mainly developing economies that are seriously affected by environmental, public health and socio-economic challenges. Such usually stem from inadequate infrastructure, weak laws, policies and regulations mainly in the extractive industries, health sector limitations and natural disasters linked to climate change, that meet the continent unprepared without any early warnings and forecasts. Research has established that there is an undeniable link between health and climate crisis and as such Africa is not spared in this regard. According to a recent Lancet 2022 countdown on health and climate change, coastal waters have become more suitable for the transmission of vibrio pathogens thereby putting the coastal dwellers and tourists at great risk of disease outbreaks. The disruptions caused by Covid-19 pandemic have equally brought unprecedented pressure on already struggling healthcare facilities. In spite of all these seemingly insurmountable problems, researchers of African origin, in the Diaspora and from the international scientific community are relentlessly working to proffer lasting and sustainable solutions to the myriads of these setbacks by incorporating pertinent continental and global mandates such as the UN SDGs, Agenda 2063 (the African Union’s 50-year initiative towards achieving a sustainable Africa), circular economy, entrepreneurship, education, indigenous people/knowledge/science, citizen science, biodiversity conservation, nature-based solutions (NbS) and one-health-one-planet target.  This session invites research works/abstracts that decisively address and provide tangible solutions to the environmental, public health, socio-economic and sustainability problems in respective African Countries. These research outputs should be backed up with evidence-based datasets and statistics in consonance with the UNESCO Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reproducible (FAIR) principle. In this light, comparison of notes, purposeful collaboration and partnership will be highly encouraged to ensure a more holistic approach to mitigation of challenges that have national, regional or continental impact.  

3.05 – Plastics in Africa from Macro to Micro: Why Accurate Data Is Critical for Protecting the Environment and Public Health

3.05 – Plastics in Africa from Macro to Micro: Why Accurate Data Is Critical for Protecting the Environment and Public Health | Holly Nel, Conrad Sparks, Sika Abrokwah, Keshnee Pillay

Plastic pollution from macro to micro are a concern to ecosystem and public health. As a result, research has increased exponentially with the overall aim to fill knowledge gaps related to source identification, transport drivers and pathways, and fate and toxicity. A wide range of techniques and protocols has stemmed from this rapid rise in scientific interest in this topic, often approaching the problem from different but complementary disciplines. This makes comparison between data sets difficult. Regardless, accurate data is essential to inform government priorities and decision-making, as well as to develop effective policies and strategies to address environmental challenges. 
Another challenge faced in the field is errors in data interpretation causing dissemination of erroneous conclusions which can lead to misinformed policy development and decisions, and possible future regulatory actions. As an example, laboratory based ecotoxicological experiments often rely on published field data to relate to “environmentally relevant concentrations” but due to the large variations between methods, generated concentrations might not be representative of such. 
This session presents research on the occurrence, effects and implications of litter, macro- and microplastics in aquatic and marine environments across Africa. Tools and methods to harmonize and simplify data analysis required for exposure and effect assessments may be presented and could include development of analytical methods, software, databases and meta-analyses. Finally, we welcome methods to harmonize the reporting of plastic data for assessment frameworks, which can help inform policies needed to address the environmental challenges linked to plastics.

3.06 – E-Waste in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities forSsustainable Management

3.06 – E-Waste in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities forSsustainable Management | Suresh Kumar, Julius Fobil, Elizabeth Oloruntuba, Patricia Bi Asanga Fai

Waste from electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE or e-waste) is a major challenge for waste management in Africa. This waste is constantly increasing due to economic growth and rapid technological change in many African countries. E-waste contains hazardous substances such as lead, mercury and cadmium, which can contaminate the environment and human health if not properly treated. However, they can also provide opportunities for job creation in a context where access to employment is difficult.  This session aims to explore the challenges and opportunities related to the sustainable management of e-waste in Africa. Everyone who wants to know more or share their experience about e-waste is highly welcome. Abstracts that can be inserted under the different sub themes will be accepted:  ·Environmental and health risks associated with the inappropriate management of e-waste in Africa  ·Collection, treatment and recycling practices for e-waste adapted to the African context  ·Regulatory framework and public policies for the sustainable management of e-waste in Africa  ·Socio-economic impacts of sustainable e-waste management initiatives in Africa  We encourage the participation of researchers, recycling professionals, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and anyone interested in the sustainable management of e-waste in Africa.

3.07 – Natural Resources Exploitation, Ecological Consequences and Remediation/Restoration for Sustainability

3.07 – Natural Resources Exploitation, Ecological Consequences and Remediation/Restoration for Sustainability | Lorraine Maltby, Udebuani Angela C, Abara Priscilla N, Onwurah Ikechukwu

Natural resources provide raw materials for industrial processes and have benefited humanity. However, exploitation and use of natural resources have remained a major source of toxic substances in the environment. Developing countries in Africa continue to be affected by natural resource exploitation as it causes negative ecological effects, manifested in the loss of biodiversity and habitat, extinction of important organisms and human health. Manifestations of adverse effects of exposure to toxicants from natural resources in human health include cytogenetic damage, neurotoxicity, immunotoxicity, reproductive dysfunction, endocrine disruption and carcinogenicity. In this regard, many organizations have formed joint task teams to develop and implement frameworks to reduce chemical risks to human health.    There is a need to identify and quantify chemical and biological processes that control the behavior of organic chemicals to minimize pollution and remediate our environment for sustainability.  Restoration of polluted environments may involve physiochemical, biological approaches and ex-situ treatments. Unfortunately, some of these methods are not cost-effective and have the limitations of producing substantial risks to the ecosystems. Therefore, bioremediation becomes attractive for the restoration of contaminated environments. Various biological treatments have been reported to include land farming, natural attenuation, bioventing and enhanced bioremediation techniques. Even though these techniques are time-consuming and difficult processes, they are the best options for restoring contaminated environments in an eco-friendly way. Some recent methods reported in the restoration process include oxidative processes, bioreactor systems and phytoremediation. As more exploration and exploitation activities continue to increase, more toxic substances may be generated and discharged into ecosystem. The restoration of these areas for environmental sustainability is important. Effective and readily accessible remediation technologies available for removal and restoration of contaminated areas are not without limitations however, as relatively safe and effective treatment strategies keep emerging.     Therefore, this session will accept abstracts on information on the impact of natural resources, mining operations, transport and transformed products on the health and wellbeing of the populace. Submissions regarding recent techniques employed in the removal of toxic substances emanating from natural resource exploitation are encouraged. Also, improved optimized restoration strategies that contribute to the protection of ecosystems and allow for effective use of natural resources, are accepted for this session.   


4. Environmental and Analytical Chemistry

4.01 – Environmental Occurrence, Risk Assessment and Regulation of Organic Contaminants in Africa

4.01 – Environmental Occurrence, Risk Assessment and Regulation of Organic Contaminants in Africa | Faith Kandie, Paul van den Brink, Enock Dankyi, Michael Onwona-Kwakye

There has been increased focus on the occurrence and fate of organic micropollutants in the African aquatic, atmospheric, and terrestrial ecosystems. Once in these compartments, the pollutants could be transferred to other compartments through sorption, volatilization, settling, immobilization, and resuspension among other processes. Transfer to biota can lead to toxicological effects on them and/or biomagnification to other higher trophic organisms. Pesticides are of particular concern given mounting evidence of their potentially harmful effects. A recent study in Ethiopia showed that of all the registered active ingredients used outdoors, 75% showed a risk to fish, aquatic invertebrates, primary producers, drinking water, soil, bees and/or birds using a first-tier model, specifically developed for Ethiopia. While the legislation on pesticide registration and licensing is relatively well developed in most African countries, the implementation of the policy is still limited. This session welcomes submissions on the occurrence, fate, effects and risk assessment of organic contaminants in water, soil, sediments, atmosphere and biota. Studies on the prioritization of compounds for monitoring and regulation, and on the evaluations of existing pesticide legislation and their implementation in African countries are also welcomed. Data presented will be beneficial in identifying contaminants in African environmental systems while providing the needed data for regulatory agencies and environmental lobby groups in prioritization and regulation. 


4.02 – Sources, Distribution, and Remediation of Anthropogenic Pollutants in Sub-Sahara Africa’s Environment

4.02 – Sources, Distribution, and Remediation of Anthropogenic Pollutants in Sub-Sahara Africa’s Environment | Venecio Ultra, Sylwia Oleszek 

In this session, we would like to gather scientists that will provide research data regarding the main anthropogenic pollutants detected in sub-Saharan Africa, including (a) their sources, levels, and distribution pathways, (b) their individual or combined impact on the water, soil, and air qualities, (c) techniques - already applied or under development - for the effective remediation of these pollutants from contaminated soil and water.   At the same, we would like to create a platform for sharing research data and exchanging information for proven practices and technologies to solve environmental problems in sub-Saharan countries.    Sub-Saharan Africa consists of 48 countries with the fastest global urbanization rate (the estimated growth in population by 2050 is over 2.2. billion). The growing population and intensive industrialization led to an increase in waste generation. Most of the organic contaminants (e.g., PCDD/Fs, PCBs, PBDEs) known as toxic, persistent, and bio-accumulated, are emitted by uncontrolled air-open waste burning and are released from improperly landfilled wastes to the air, soil, and water.  Several unregulated and informal cottage industrial operations and uncontrolled small and large-scale metal or mineral mining activities are responsible for the emission of toxic heavy metals (e.g. Pb, Cd, Hg, Zn, etc.). Also, improper waste disposal of tailings and mine waste serves as the point source of heavy metal that pollute soil and water. Contamination of soil and water by pesticides is a result of improper agricultural activities. Additionally, there is a serious problem associated with the accumulation in soil and water of active chemicals (e.g., psychiatric drugs, diuretics, and antibiotics) that are released from wastewater reused for irrigation purposes and from sewage sludges used as fertilizer. The reuse of wastewater for irrigation is a particularly common practice in the area with water shortages. Altogether, the mismanagement of various waste contributes largely to the deterioration of water and soil qualities in sub-Saharan Africa and poses severe hazards to humans and ecosystems.     We hope the proposed session will provide an opportunity to identify the gaps regarding the source, levels, and distribution pathways of the pollutants, discuss actions to improve the monitoring/detection system of the pollutants and explore possibilities for the decontamination of the soil and water, appropriate for the individual country of sub-Saharan Africa.   

4.03 – Contaminants in Unusual Urban Environments 

4.03 – Contaminants in Unusual Urban Environments | Matt Dodd, Godfred Darko, Marian Nkansah 

Dust and soils in the urban environment comprise a mixture of original mineral particulates produced through weathering, organic materials, waste, plastics, and construction materials such as bricks, concrete, paint, ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Apart from the metals associated with the original particulates, the use of paints and pesticides, vehicular traffic and activities such as incineration of municipal and medical waste, biomass combustion, and other industrial processes can potentially introduce metals, PAHs, organochlorine compounds, pesticides, phenols, phthalates, and emerging substances such as pharmaceuticals, microplastics, flame retardants, per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), into urban settings. Microplastics can also be present in urban environment through the degradation of larger plastic debris and from the use of soil amendments (e.g., compost and biosolids). Direct exposure to these contaminants can occur through inhalation and ingestion while dermal contact and adhesion to clothing can also lead to incidental ingestion. Considering the potential toxicity of these contaminants and the associated human health risk, it is pertinent to identify and quantify contaminants in urban setting. This session aims at inviting papers on contaminants in air, water, soils, dust, and other consumable products with emphasis on unusual urban settings. It is hoped that presentations will explore exposure scenarios, estimate the risk associated with exposure incorporating bioavailability and provide suggestions to limit or manage and communicate risk.



5. Social issues, Policy and Communication

5.01 – Education for Sustainable Development and Open Science Platforms in Africa

5.01 – Education for Sustainable Development and Open Science Platforms in Africa | Chioma Blaise-Chikere, Ntebogeng Mokgalaka-Fleischmann, Eka Essien, Margaret Chitiga-Mabugu

Africa faces severe environmental problems including pollution, climate change, habitat destruction and over-exploitation of natural resources such as fresh water. This undermines the prospects for a long-term resilient, robust and sustainable African economy. Most environmental monitoring studies are well documented and easily accessible in developed countries around the world. Unfortunately, there is a paucity of knowledge and databases on the occurrence of pollution and emerging contaminants in waste, surface and groundwater in Africa. In addition, Socio‐economic and geographical drivers associated with poverty influence the (un)availability of research outputs and further guidance is required to understand educational development in the young faced with challenges such as nutritional deficiencies. Higher education (HE) institutions are hubs for the blueprint of economic development and revolutions. For impact and lasting growth, these developments should align with the realization of the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Hence, the recent crusade promotes circular economy (circularity) over linear economic models. Entrepreneurship stimulates economic growth, and sustainable entrepreneurship is vital to the circular economy and the success of SDGs. This session explores the roles education in promoting entrepreneurship education for self-reliance, circularity, green economy, innovations and sustainability. This session aims to provide a forum for sharing and highlighting the efforts of African researchers and progress made in data collection, developing databases, knowledge hubs and open science platforms for data on pollution monitoring and impact assessment, detection and quantification of pollutants, assessment of their effects on individual species or ecosystems.



6. Special Sessions

6.01 – Special Session: UNEP’s Science-Policy Panel to Contribute Further to the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste and to Prevent Pollution

6.01 – Special Session: UNEP’s Science-Policy Panel to Contribute Further to the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste and to Prevent Pollution | Michelle Bloor, Tarryn Botha

The Special Session’s focus is the UNEP Science-Policy Panel to contribute further to the sound management of chemicals and waste and to prevent pollution (SPP). UNEA Resolution 5/8 declared that a science-policy panel should be established to contribute further to the sound management of chemicals and waste and prevent pollution, and to convene, subject to the availability of resources, an ad-hoc Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) that will begin work in 2022, with the ambition of completion by the end of 2024. The Special Session at the SETAC African Biannual Meeting will be one of many membership engagement activities on this topic, in Africa. Similar events, consultations, and surveys will also take place in SETAC’s other geographical areas (Europe, North America, Asia Pacific and Latin America) to support SETAC’s input and participation at OEWG meetings and to support SETAC’s involvement in the Technical Advisory Group to UNEP’s Executive Director (TAG), which will be organised by the SETAC CheM Panel, who leads on this initiative for the society. 

Prior to the Special Session, a survey of SETAC members will be undertaken, which will be used as a framing for the event, and to inform the discussion that will take place. The survey will focus on questions relating to key themes that are generated through the ad-hoc 1.2 OEWG meeting that took place in Bangkok (30th January to 3rd February). A call for questions will also be made to the SETAC membership and a selection of those questions will be incorporated into the session. 

Special Session Structure:

  • Chair(s) will provide background and introduction to the session. 
  • In order to set the context for the following session discussion, between 6 and 8 invited speakers (including speakers from Academia, Business, Government and NGO) will be given 3-5 mins each to talk about their pre-determined theme. 
  • The audience will be invited to select their preferred panel discussion questions (a QR code will be shared with the audience), based on the survey results and the sessions pre-determine themes (that feedforward from the ad-hoc 1.2 OEWG meeting), and the questions will be addressed in the order of the audience’s preference.
  • The invited speakers will join a panel discussion of the audience’s preferred questions, and the audience will also be invited to join in the discussion. 
  • During the Special Session, the audience will be asked to complete several poll questions (a QR code will be shared with the audience). 
  • Chair(s) will lead the plenary and will bring the session to a close with their final thoughts.  

Output from the session:
The data collected from the survey, live polls, presentations and the discussion captured during the Special Session will be used to prepare a report for the SETAC Globe (monthly web-based magazine and, if appropriate, a paper for IEAM. Furthermore, the information will be used to provide consultation information to the OEWG process and TAG.