University of Pretoria

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Work and Research

Dr. Chukwuma has researched on water quality monitoring for rivers; he has conducted studies on groundwater pollution assessment; others are roof harvested rainwater monitoring and quality assessment; biogas potential from agricultural bio-wastes for biogas plant sizing has been done; kinetics of biogas production from indigenous animal wastes has also been researched and established. Others include studies on the kinetics and statistical analysis of the bio-stimulating effects of goat litter in crude oil biodegradation process and waste-water treatment using chitosan protein from animal source. Other research focus is on the application of geospatial technology to environmental and agricultural challenges in developing countries.

Fields Of Expertise

Environmental monitoring


Waterbody plastic pollution is one of the most devastating problems faced globally today. It impacts the environment, animals, and man’s health and well-being. Sea-based waterbody plastic pollution comes from fishing and aquaculture activities; while land-based sources are from recreational activities on beaches, urban activities, waste treatment plants, and agricultural activities.

Waterbody plastic pollution is aided also by natural factors such as storm-water discharge, flood, landslide, and man-made factors like waste collection inefficiency, consumers’ lifestyle, urban drainage conditions and population density.


Plastic pollution is a global challenge, especially in some African countries, due to poor waste management strategies and weak enforcement of plastic waste control policies. Municipal drainages in some African countries serve as conduits for the transportation of plastics littered in the environment to waterbodies. Plastic accumulation in municipal drainages is one of the major causes of stagnant water in most cities, which creates a breeding ground for bacteria and parasites responsible for malaria, dengue fever, legionnaires’ disease etc.


Dr Emmanuel C. Chukwuma proposes a circular economy plastic waste management strategy that ensures that the waste material constantly flows around in a closed-loop system instead of being used once and then discarded. This means simultaneously keeping the value of plastics in the economy without leakage into the natural environment.


Addressing plastic pollution through the re-engineering of plastic is a critical priority for the continent. His FAR-LeaF research project is called Creating a circular economy from plastic wastes: reengineering plastics with community engagement strategy.


His research will establish the most feasible conditions for transforming plastic wastes into energy and other high-value products considering regional peculiarities in waste management in Nigeria and Africa and produce data on a preferred plastic transformation process considering the environmental footprint.


The research will serve as a pilot project for plastic waste to energy transformation, for social impact based on improved strategies; and reduce climate change hazards resulting from the uncontrolled burning of plastic waste and leakages to water bodies. This will also reduce the negative health effects of stagnant water in drainages in cities.


The byproduct of the plastic transformation will be a boost in the economy by converting waste to energy for cooking, low engine systems, etc.

The research will be made available for policy documents on plastic legislation and provide information to networks in Africa and abroad.


“To solve the problems of plastic waste in Africa, we need a socio-cultural mind shift on how plastic is viewed – we need to start seeing it as a resource with profitability attached thereto,” says Dr Chukwuma.