INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION AND TOXICOLOGY IN AFRICA: STATUS AND STRATEGIES FOR SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
The conference drew over 75 participants from 24 countries; Belgium, Botswana, Cameroon, Canada, DRC, Egypt, Ethiopia, Germany, Ghana, Japan, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Netherlands, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, USA, Zambia, Zanzibar and Zimbabwe. The participants included researchers from Universities and other tertiary institutions, industrialists, policy makers from Government Institutions, consultants and representatives from Non Government Organizations. The conference started on Monday, 2 November 2009. The opening session was presided over by Uganda’s Minister of water and environment, Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Director National Environment Management Authority, Dean Faculty of Science Makerere University, President SETAC Europe, President SETAC Africa President/Executive Secretary ANCAP and the Chairman local organizing committee. The 75 participants recorded are only those who attended the conference throughout the entire period.
The presentations were structured as 1 key note address, 5 plenary lectures, 57 platform presentations and 21 poster presentations under the following themes:
1. Environmental pollution
3. Strategies for Sustainable Environmental Quality
4. Environmental Chemistry
5. Environmental Risk Assessment
6. Political and social-economic aspects of environmental issues
The conference was successful in initiating discussions towards the study, analysis and solutions to environmental problems, the management and regulation of natural resources, research and development and environmental education. Discussions also focused on the establishment of various groups and networks geared towards development of research teams that will enhance the management of sustainable environmental quality and ecosystem integrity within the continent. In addition, the concept of developing a toxicology course across African universities as a means of improving chemicals management within the continent was discussed. It was a general consensus that qualifying toxicologists required intensive training in all aspects of chemistry (organic, physical, analytical, biochemistry and molecular biology), in addition to the pharmaco- and toxicokinetics, Physiology (animal, plant and human), not to omit the environmental issues. It was observed that Africans needed to revise their priorities, curricula and their way of thinking when dealing with drugs, pesticides and all toxicants, solid wastes, hazardous waste and pollutants so as to be able to shoulder their responsibilities, in the near future, otherwise no one can really imagine what this future would look like.