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Status, progress and challenges of phytoremediation - An African scenario

Odoh, Chuks Kenneth, Zabbey, Nenibarini, Sam, Kabari, Eze, Chibuzor Nwadibe
Journal of environmental management 2019 v.237 pp. 365-378
aesthetics, biomass, developing countries, dieback, ecosystem management, environmental impact, experts, land management, mineral resources, mining, oils, phytoremediation, pollutants, pollution, sediments, soil, solar energy, traditional technology, Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia
Environmental pollution occasioned by artisanal activities and technical failures at exploration sites has affected mostly oil producing and other mineral resources mining regions in developed and developing nations. As conventional techniques of remediation seem to be progressively unreliable and inefficient, contaminated land management experts have adopted a plant-based technology described as ‘phytoremediation’ for effective detoxification and removal of contaminants in substrate environmental media (soil and sediment). This technique, has gained public acceptance because of its aesthetic, eco-friendly, solar energy driven and low cost attributes. With complexity of environmental pollution in Africa, identification of appropriate remediation approach that deliver net environmental benefit and economic profit to the society is vital, while also focusing on the exploitation of plants genetic tools for more clarity on phyto tolerance, uptake and translocation of pollutants. In this article, we reviewed the status, progress and challenges of phytoremediation in selected African countries (South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zambia, Egypt and Ghana), the ecological impact of the pollutants, phytoremediation strategies and the possible plants of choice. Besides highlighting the support roles played by soil fauna and flora, the fate of harvested biomass/dieback and its future prospects are also discussed. We further explored the factors challenging phytoremediation progress in Africa, amidst its promising potentials and applicability for sustainable ecosystem management paradigm.