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DAILY TRUST

Th u rsday, April 7, 20 11

environment@dailytrust.com HOTLINE: 08036417326

Environment

Researchers turn waste ."to environment-friendly fertilizer By Hamisu Muhammad NIGERIAN scientists at the Sheda and Technology Complex (SHESTCO) have succeeded in turning amcultural waste into environment-friendly fertilizer. The new discovery explored the possibility of producing fertilizers using maize cob and moringa oleifera seeds' cake thereby reducing the burden ofchemical fertilizers on the environmentand saving billions ofdollars in foreign exchange. The development cameat the time when the authorities, through the Ministry of Science and Technology are harvesting research outcomes that can be turned to products and services towards boosting economic activities, . agriculture and food seauity. Apart from obvious environmental impact of using chemical fertilizer, farmers in the rural areas often complain of inadequate access to fertilizer which most timesare not readily available in sufficient quantities to them. SundayThomas, Director General ofSHESTCO said the breakthrough, whidl came in two forms, will boost food production, increase plant fertility and reduce the negative impacts of chemical fertilizer on the environment "We have come up with two research products from our chemistry advanced laboratory. The first one is what we caiI ~,e slow release nitrogen fertilizer which is basicaily like urea fertilizer that people have used over the ages; said Thomas. The problem that most farmers. especially in the Northern part of Nigeria face in using urea fertilizer is that it easily leaches when the rain fails, beyond the root ofthe plants especially shrubs that produce cereals, he said. Part of the SHESfCO's mandate is to provide opportunities through Scienc~

....

research and development fur utilizing high technology to contribute to the nation's economic development Nigeria's hot weather made urea fertilizer to easily volatilize, giving out the nitrogen which is the' key thing needed by plants. 'I t volatilizes as ammonia into the atmosphere. In agiven planting season, tanners

problem, we tried to slow down the rate at which Urea releases nitrogen and we decided to use locaily available materials - that is the waste maize cob. Normallywe throwaway maize cobs after eating the com but We have decided to Use the cobS economicaily, said Thomas. "We treated them in a particu-

have to apply urea about two or three times before harvesting.Thishas been a problem to scientists who have been sourcingfor,a1temativeforalongtime. Various approaches had been tried in order to slow down the rate at which urea gives up the nitrogen needed by plants but without success. The Maize Cob fertilizer Our researchers looked at the

lar way, ground them into powder and carried out partial hydrolysis. We then have the treated, powdered maize cob to react in solid state with urea fertilizer at a previously selected temperature. The result Was the powdered, slow nitrogen-releasing fertilizer which we granulated to be easily applied to plant in tiny balls': 'We really believe it will help the

Maringaseed cake also a fertilizer The other breakthrough, according to ThomaS, is from the plant that is referred to as the "tree oflife': moringa oIeifera. 40 percent ofthe seed ofmoringa ,oleifera contains edible oil which can also be used tOr lubrication ofelectronicpartslikethewristwatches. Undernormalcircwnstancestheoil that is used fur fine electronics lubrication is got from whale where you have to first ofall kill the male whale, extract the spenn and the oil from the sperm which is used but we fuund that the oil from moringa can be used for the sanle purpose. But when you extract the oil, theremainingseedcakeisaveryfineferti\izer that can be used on plants treated or otherwise, said Thomas What we have tried to do here in SHESTCO is to see how best it can be applied as a fertilizer. The results we have got are very encouraging. So Moringa seed cake can be used as organic fertilizer. We are working out the best method of applying it as fertilizerand managing it for the crops because ifyou use it like urea fertilizer you may not get the right kind of: result Any farmer that starts applying our new modified fertilizer will have about 30 to 40 per cent reduction in cost. We may set up a pilot plant to make it more attractive to investors. These research results can be dif路 fused to local funnel's. One local government in Kano State has adopted moringaasitsplantofeconomic inlportance belp to create a spinoff company for and they are now growing a plantation because of the economic relevance. A the projects. Apart from releasing nitrogen to lilre ofMoringa oil costs between N350 theplan!, the processed maize cob also and NSOO. Its leaves are edible. It can be increases what is cailed soil organic ground into fine powder and taken like matterwhichisveryimportantforsoil dry yeast to reduce blood sugar. The Institute also intends to profertility. The fertilizer is more environment-friendly because it reduces soil duceportablemachinesthatcandehusk acidity that resultsfrom prolonged use moringa seeds to make it easier for extracting oil offertilizer on a piece ofland.

country a lot because it is not only a urea improvement procedure, it also multiplies the quantity of fertilizer available in twosenses. One,ifwetake a bag ofurea fertilizer, what will come up is two bags of the m<idified fertilizer, so we have increased the quantity and the qualitf. he revealed. The researchers said it would also

'Indiscrjminate waste disposal hampers potable water supply' From Christiana T. Alabi. Kaduna HEAD, Land, Water Research and Development Division of the National Water Resources Institute, Kaduna, Dr. Waheed Alayande has blamed the inadequate supply of portable water to the method ofwaste disposal within the environment Speaking with our correspondent in an interview at the institute,

Dr. Alayande said all wastes are discharged in the open and when rain falls, it washes the waste products into rivers thereby polluting the real source of water supply. "Because of the waste being washed into the rivers, the cost of treatment keeps increasing and as population increases, the waste generated also increases," he said. He said this has resulted to

increase in the cosi of water treatment annually, because the water board's needs for chemical for water treatment increases and the fund provided by government is always not enough. This is responsible for the presence of particles in water fetched from the taps, because the water storage systems are not sufficiently cleaned because the deaning process

is long and capital intensive, he stated. the water is clean; he said. He calied on government to On how to identifydean water, he said dean water cannot be identified increase its funding for the water secwith the naked eyes without testing tor to ensure that storage reservoirs it in the laboratory because there are are deaned regularly. He also stressed the need for the basic paranleters for identifying dean introduction ofa proper wayofwaste water. ':Aesthetic value states that the disposal so that Nigerians can have eyes must first of all accept whatever access to portable water which would is going into the human system so if in turn ensure reduction in cases of your eyes accept it, you may likely say water related-deseases.

AMAC tasks satellite towns residents on waste disposal MR. Tijjani Ado, the Chief Environmental Officer of Abuja Munici路 pal Area Council ' (AMAC)x has appealed to residents of sateilite IOl,.vns 10 use the services oflkensed refuse c:()lkLh ll"s deSignated to tht il a reil~ in . . Iisp,):-,ing their refuse. l\d ' l Ilwdc the call in an intt~ n k w \ \" illl II II! Nt'\\'''' Agency of ~~It!.t? ri<l

f NAN) \\ Il ilt' '~~Pl" ~1singlh t:'l". :1< t l,~

lilll! ~

If '.\ , I"'! ~ ' I hl mp~ ill N \'am,'

~ .jI' :

and Jikowyi satellite towns on Monday in Abuja. He warned residents of the satellite towns against dumping refuse on road ride because the practice is dangerous to the environment and to the

health of the people. Ado also urged them to ensure tilut ,,-aste collection fees are paid to lil t' (t liltractorsas. at and \\'hen due, " \ "hl.:l1 the 'contnKto f' ,11'1:

111)1

paid promptly, tlley will abandon their duties and this will lead to indiscriminate dunlping of refuse along the roads. ResidenLs should assist the government by making use oflicensed cO llt raclor ~ and par them as at when

due, TIll> wou ld go a long way to ensu re t' l1\'i ro nmenLaJ cleanliness

and 1 1 1l' ~1 'fl,i ht'alth urthe re~ id e n t s," Ik ' ! t tl rt'''i dt'lll !- of !\'\'(\1l\'i\.

Karu and Jikowyi that AMAC would work round the clock to evacuate the

to ensure that refuse generated in

refuse in their areas,

He said that the council alone could not handle it due to the huge

"In the next few da),s, residents of tI,ese areas will breathe fresh air because the council will '''ork rulinG

th ese areas were cleared regularly,

financial resources involved,

Ado appealed to the residents

the clock to ensure th at refu se are e\'acuated, 'he said,

not burn refuse inside the dustbin trucksas they racilitate easy e\'acua-

He said that the council " 'ould collaborate ,,'ith the Ahuja l' m in 111 mental Protectinn A!!L'lh, \ {,\I PH!

lion of refuse from the various loca tion' 10 the fi lial designated dump ,it~s,

DAILY TRUST, 07 APRIL, 2011  

Researchers turn waste into environmen-friendly fertilizer

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