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Aemere Ogunlaja

Field Toxicology & Environmental Monitoring





Harmful algal blooms in the Nigerian-Canadian context; measurement and remediation of cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins


Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are increasing in frequency and duration in freshwater bodies and these HABs generate cyanotoxins that can cause harm to humans and wildlife (severe liver damage and ultimately result in death) that drink the contaminated water. In order to tackle the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG - 3 and 6) of ‘Good health and Well-being’ / ‘Clean water and Sanitation’, it is necessary to measure and identify cyanotoxins in water which will help prevent mass poisoning events reported in Nigeria. In Canada, there are access to advanced technology that enables freshwater treatment and monitoring programs to protect people and animals from contaminated drinking water. However, some of Canada’s abundant freshwater resources have records of HABs, it is therefore necessary to proffer affordable and eco-friendly materials / treatment options for HABs removal. Furthermore, this collaborative project addresses SDG 10 of ‘Reduced Inequalities’, because water security is something that many Canadians take for granted, and unfortunately is not a privilege that is shared by all nations equally. This project thus aims to evaluate the HABs in Nigerian freshwater and develop materials targeted at their removal and building capacity in this field. The aim will be met by collecting and storing samples of water freshwater sources experiencing HABs in Nigeria and analysing the samples for the presence of cyanotoxins using state-of-the-art detection methods. The project also involves building capacity for future HABs monitoring and bioremediation programs for the protection of freshwater resources. This project will lead to establishing ong-term HAB and cyanotoxin monitoring capability by the Nigeria team. The remediation technology developed will protect public health and freshwater resources with increased water security in Canada and Nigeria.

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