Integrated Process for Sustainable Agro-process Waste Treatment and Climate Change Mitigation in Eastern Africa
Dawit, Mekibib David
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Eastern Africa countries are faced with similar development challenges including high population growth rate, low agricultural productivity, increasing number of agro-processing industries, pollution and contamination of water sources by agro-processing industrial wastes, inadequate energy supplies and climate change effects such as extreme drought and flooding. It is therefore imperative to address these challenges in an integrated and regional manner, in which key stakeholders including the public and private sectors are actively engaged. The goal of this Consortium is to contribute to climate change mitigation, environmental sustainability, and agricultural development by applying strategic waste management innovation systems in Eastern Africa (focussing on Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda). Specifically the project aims to: (1) Strengthen capacity to sustainably manage agro-process wastewater in Eastern Africa; (2) Develop and optimize innovative wastewater treatment processes integrating biogas production and water/nutrient reuse for enhanced industrial and agricultural productivity in Eastern Africa and; (3) Evaluate and disseminate the economic, environmental and social benefits of the integrated wastewater treatment bioprocesses. We will achieve our objectives by use of appropriate technologies that will be designed, developed and optimized to achieve: (1) better treatment of agro-process wastewaters (slaughterhouse, tannery and Banana wine processing wastewaters) in Uganda, Ethiopia and Tanzania, respectively and; (2) generation of useable by-products such as biogas, bio-fertilizers, and agricultural products (vegetables, flowers, animal feed/pasture grass) from wastewater treatment processes. Through this integrated wastewater treatment approach, we will contribute to environmental, social and economic development of Eastern African countries including reduction in pollution and contamination of water sources receiving agro-processing wastewaters, reduction in incidences of water related diseases such as diarrhoea, reductions in emission of greenhouse gases (GHG); generation of renewable energy source (biogas), slow down the rate of deforestation for firewood and charcoal, reduce indoor air pollution (IAP) and respiratory diseases since Biogas burns smoke free, and improve agricultural productivity by provision bio-fertilizers. The proposed Consortium hinges on lessons learned from the successes and challenges of previous SIDA/SAREC projects in Eastern Africa, especially BIO-EARN programme phase 3 which carried out treatment of slaughterhouse wastewater at City Abattoir (Uganda) and tannery wastewater at Modjo Tannery (Ethiopia). Whereas the project treated these industrial wastewaters, they were not economically sustainable because they did not addvalue to wastes by integrating hydroponic systems for vegetables and flowers cultivation, production of useable byproducts such as biogas and bio-fertilizers into the treatment process to make it sustainable. The proposed Environmental Innovation Project Consortium II comprises of scientists from Waste Stabilization Ponds (WSP) & Constructed Wetland Research and Development group (University of Dar Es Salaam - UDSM), Department of Biochemistry (Makerere University - MAK), School of Graduate Studies University of Addis Ababa (Ethiopia - AAU), National University of Rwanda (NUR), and AKUT Burkard and Partner (Germany, www.akut-umwelt.de, AKUT). The private sector partners involved in this consortium include Bassajabalaba Hides and Skins - City Abattoir (Uganda), Modjo Tannery, Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), and Banana Investments Ltd, Arusha, (Tanzania). Each scientific partner contributes technical skills, experiences and synergies to the Consortium: UDSM has engineers with technical experiences in constructed wetland technologies; AKUT Partner has experience in designing and installation of industrial scale biogas digester plants; MAK and AAU have experiences in operation of reactors and constructed wetlands treating slaughterhouse and tannery wastewaters, respectively. On the other hand, Bassajabalaba Hides and Skins, City Abattoir (Uganda) and Modjo, Tannery (Ethiopia) both have over four years (2006-2010) experience in operation of integrated technologies treating high strength slaughterhouse and tannery wastewaters, respectively, under the SIDA/SAREC supported BIO-EARN project. Whereas Banana Investments Ltd, Arusha (Tanzania) have not participated in similar arrangements, they have committed strong technical, financial and in kind support towards the success of the proposed Consortium project. The proposed Consortium project is anticipated to run on budget of USD 1,199,684 over a period of three years (2011 -2013).