Pollution Research Group at the UKZN Postgraduate-Day 2017

by Susan Mercer | Dec 03, 2017
As in previous years, the Pollution Research Group (PRG) was present at the UKZN Postgraduate-Day 2017, organized on the Westville campus. The PRG was represented by our masters and PhD students, coordinated by Dr. Santiago Septien.

The PRG had also a stand in the exhibition area, in order disseminate our activities to the public and to attract future students and collaborators. The stand was manned by a group of two to three students on a rotational basis. The stand was equipped with posters, handouts, some snacks and a screen where photos of the group were displayed.

In order to attract the attention of people, chocolate balls and apple juice were bought as snacks, and they were labelled as edible “treated faecal sludge” and “treated urine”. This caught the interest of the visitors resulting in a number of people coming to the stand the test the “products” - followed by a series of different funny reactions: confusion, shock, surprise, disgust and particularly lots of laughs! Some participants hesitated before consuming the snacks, being made to think that they were really made from human excreta, but in the end, everybody agreed that the edible faecal sludge and urine were delicious!

The slideshow of pictures was also a brilliant idea, as it gave a dynamic touch to the stand. The slideshow included pictures from laboratory work, fieldwork, field trips, conferences and social gatherings. The intention was to show that we work hard at the PRG, but we also know how to relax and have fun .

The work from two of our masters students were selected as oral presentations:
Rennia Mwenje on vertical constructed wetlands to treat dirty effluent, and
Tendayi Mugauri on how to dry faecal material with the sun.

Unfortunately, Rennia was unable to attend the Postgraduate-Day due to work commitments, but her super supervisor, Preyan Arumugam, gave the presentation on her behalf. Tendayi surprised everybody with a fantastic presentation, which lead to a loud ovation of the audience at the end of the speach.

Three of our students presented their work as a poster:
Jimson Tanyanyiwa on the anaerobic co-digestion of industrial effluents,
Ellen Mutsakatira on the larvae of a fly that loves to eat faecal matter (black solider fly), and
Preyan Arumugam on vertical wetlands.

The students defended their work with tenacity and scientific methodology, and had interesting discussions with the people visiting their posters.

At the end of the day, the Postgraduate-Day finished with the award ceremony. The student of one of our close collaborators, which is also part of the PRG family, won a prize for her poster about the use of biochar from faecal waste in agriculture.

Congratulations Nqobile Nkomo, we are very proud of your success!!

During the ceremony, there were also several lucky draws, where Jimson won a package with different accessories (t-shirt, a mug, USB stick, etc…). Lucky Jimson!

The countdown for the next year Postgraduate-Day edition has started! In the meantime, we will leave with some pictures that shows the best moment of the 2017 edition. Enjoy!


Oral Presentations:

Poster Presentations