Orange peels, avocado peels and the sun to combat drought


Photo credit: Google

Orange peels

Combatting drought with a Low-Cost, biodegradable Superabsorbent Polymer made out of ORANGE PEELS

on Google Science Fair

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South Africa is presently experiencing one of the worst droughts in 45 years, with the lowest ever rainfall since 1904. In 2015, South Africa received only an average of 403 mm, which is merely 66% of the annual average rainfall.

This matter has to be urgently addressed, with food sources under severe strain and still household food security being a major concern. However, a clear solution would be Superabsorbent Polymers (SAPs). SAPs absorb and carry about 300 times its weight in liquid relative to their own mass. When a SAP is cross-linked with polymerization, the product is water retaining hydrogels that act as a reservoir of collected water in soil.

However, these SAPs are not biodegradable, costly and full of acrylic…

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The question of who sets the research agenda remains.


Photo credit: SciDevNet

Copyright: Sven Torfinn / Panos

Africa Analysis: Benefits of the restarted R&D alliance

“Many people argue that donors’ influence over health research agendas in Africa remains too strong.” Linda Nordling

Speed read

  • The second phase of Europe-Africa clinical trials partnership has started
  • It could help African countries increase their investment in health R&D
  • African governments need to help sustain the gains to be made

The reboot of the Europe-Africa clinical trials alliance could make Africa invest in health R&D, writes Linda Nordling.

In 2010 in Mali’s capital Bamako, representatives from over two dozen African health ministries signed a ‘call for action’ urging their governments to allocate at least two per cent of health ministry budgets toresearch. [1]

The aim of the call was for African governments to take ownership of the research agenda, which at the time was viewed as too driven by international donor priorities.

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“Great Green Wall” to beat back the Sahara desert


In this Tuesday, May 11, 2010 photo, a sandstorm engulfs Fulani herdsmen near their temporary settlement in Gadabeji, Niger. At this time of year, the Gadabeji Reserve should be a refuge for the nomadic tribes who travel across the moonscape deserts of Niger to graze their cattle. But the grass is meager, not enough even for the small goats, after a drought killed off the last year's crops. International aid groups once again warn this nation of 15 million on the verge of the Sahara Desert faces a growing food crisis.

Desertification is a real problem in sub-Saharan Africa. (AP/Sunday Alamba)

African countries are building a “Great Green Wall” to beat back the Sahara desert

by Omar Mohammed

Eleven African countries are moving ahead with an ambitious pan-African effort in the Sahel-Saharan region of the continent to protect arable land from the encroaching Sahara desert—by planting trees.

The countries—Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Senegal—came together in 2007 to execute the $2 billion dollar project to arrest the creeping desertification in the region. The 15 kilometers (9 miles) wide and 7,775 kilometers (4,831 miles) long tree wall will stretch all the way from Senegal in west Africa to Djibouti in the east.

The Great Green Wall. (Green Wall Initiative via AP)

Desertification is a growing problem in sub-Saharan Africa. Estimates suggestthat 40% of the region’s land has been impacted, exposing over 500 millionpeople…

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Pan-African effort to plant trees along the edge of the Sahara desert


Photo credit: AFK Insider


The ‘Great Green Wall’ Of Africa: An Ambitious Plan To Beat Back The Sahara Desert

By Kevin Mwanza

Some 11 African countries are making headway in their ambitious pan-African effort to plant trees along the edge of the Sahara desert, the world largest, and beat back its spread into more arable land southwards.

The plan dubbed the ‘Great Green Wall’ seeks to counter the spread of Sahara Desert in Africa was launched in 2007 and was estimated to cost more than $2 billion up to completion.

It has already made considerable step with several nations involved in the intitiative, including Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Senegal, experiencing environmental and employment boom.

In Senegal, 11 million trees have been planted while in neighboring Nigeria, the project has created 20,000 jobs in rural parts of the West African nation,

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The Fight against Desertification in the Sahel (1996)

Posted by Prof. Dr. Willem VAN COTTHEM

Ghent University – Belgium

Having participated in all the meetings of the INCD (1992-1994) and all the meetings of the UNCCD-COP, the CST and the CRIC in 1994-2006, I had an opportunity to collect a lot of interesting books and publications on drought and desertification published in that period.

Book Nr. 32

Please click:

or see the-fight-against-desertification-in-the-sahel-1996

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China’s Grain-for-Green Program, the world’s largest reforestation effort


Photo credit: Science Daily

China’s Grain-for-Green Program, the world’s largest reforestation effort, has transformed 69.2 million acres of cropland and barren scrubland back to forest. Yet, the program overwhelming leads to the planting of monoculture forests (the eucalyptus forest, Japanese cedar forest and bamboo forest pictured above), falling short of restoring the biodiversity of native forests — and can even harm existing wildlife.
Credit: Fangyuan Hua

Seeing the forest for the trees: World’s largest reforestation program overlooks wildlife

September 7, 2016
Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
New research found that China’s reforestation program, the world’s largest, overwhelmingly leads to the planting of monoculture forests that fall short of restoring the biodiversity of native forests — and can even harm existing wildlife. The researchers found, however, that multi-species forests could be planted without detracting from the economic benefits China’s poor and rural citizens…

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1.8m Trees to Stop Desertification


Photo credit: Sahel Standard

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-rufai

Kaduna Plants 1.8m Trees to Stop Desertification

by Sahel Standard Editor in Latest News

The Kaduna State government is set to embark on a tree planting spree.This, Governor Nasiru Ahmad el-Rufa’i says would be used to preserve the environment.

Hassan Ibrahim,Kaduna(September 8)-The Kaduna state government has planned to plant 1.8 million tree seedlings in 2016 which would be used to preserve the environment ,Governor Nasiru Ahmad el-Rufa’i has said.

The governor said in Zaria,that “we shall continue to plant not less than 1.5 million seedlings annually.”
Similarly,Hajiya Amina Mohammed, Minister of Environment has expressed concern over incessant felling of trees in the country.

The minister and Governor el-Rufa’i spoke at the 2016 Tree Planting Campaign organised by Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) with the theme “Go Wild For Life: Zero Tolerant For Illegal Trade In Wild Life” and sub-theme: “Reawakening Campaign For…

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