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Survey of the accumulation of microplastics and the associated effect on crop quality in West African agricultural soil

Backed by Andy Blunk
$70
Pledged
1%
Funded
$9,950
Goal
16
Days Left
  • $70
    pledged
  • 1%
    funded
  • 16
    days left

About This Project

This Woman Horticultural Garden was established in 1996. The garden is about 23 hectares of land and hosts about 500 women whose livelihood depends on their harvest. However, the long use of plastic mulching and compost material has raised many questions related to microplastics, and plastic contamination, arising from plastic mulching and compost which has microplastic materials. The study is aimed to assess the cause of this distress by The Soil Solution (NGO)

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What is the context of this research?

The Banjulinding Women Community Horticultural Garden was re-established by the second President of the Gambia in 1996 after initial support from the World Bank. The Garden is about 23 hectares of land and is customarily the main source of income for most women in this community. However, with the use of plastic mulching and the intensive use of compost material, there has been a decline in production in the garden. Many scientists and researchers believe that the decline is due to soil distress by microplastic contamination, arising from plastic mulching and the use of compost which has microplastic materials. This study aims to assess the cause and impact of this distress by “The Soil Solution” (NGO). Reference Citation

What is the significance of this project?

The findings will inform strategies to:

1. Reduce microplastic contamination in the Garden by; composting wisely to avoid adding commercially produced compost or yard waste containing plastic fragments to their garden beds Opt for homemade compost made with organic materials and ensure to remove any plastic bits before adding them to the pile and to mulch consciously.

2. Promote sustainable practices for healthy soil and safe food production by adopting sustainable soil management practices which are the foundation for safe food production these include practices such as; crop rotation, cover cropping, reduced tillage, composting food scraps and yard waste create a nutrient-rich amendment that improves soil health.

What are the goals of the project?

Objectives:

1. Assess the level of microplastic contamination: To quantify microplastic presence and type in the soil and evaluate the impact of microplastics on this particular community garden and soil health indicators likewise the potential effects on plant growth (yield, height, biomass).

2. Understand the impact on soil health: Investigate how microplastics affect soil properties and microbial activity, which are crucial for plant growth and equally evaluate potential risks to food safety if microplastics are being taken up by plants and potentially pose a risk to human consumption

3. Inform best practices: The findings can inform recommendations for alternative mulching materials and practices to minimize microplastic contamination in community gardens.

Budget

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Methodology

This study is designed to be completed within a $9,950 budget. Cost allocation will be prioritised to; 1. soil sample collection and microplastic analysis: collect soil samples from various plots with and without plastic mulch/compost history. Focus on optimizing sample numbers within budget constraints and quantifying microplastic levels. Partner with local universities or research institutions for potential collaboration on analysis. 2. Soil Health Assessment: Conduct basic tests focusing on key indicators like microbial activity and nutrient content using commercially available soil test kits and finally 3. Plant Growth Monitoring: Monitor plant growth parameters in designated plots throughout the growing season.

Endorsed by

I am excited to see this sort of project being proposed for the region! Having worked with The Soil Solutions I can attest that they're passionate about this research and connected within the community to carry out the work successfully. I look forward to the findings of this work and think it has real value for creating more sustainable agricultural solutions in the region.
I am excited and interested to see the results of this research project. I know The Soil Solutions and can attest that they have both the expertise and community standing to complete this research project, and deliver findings with their research question on microplastics in the garden cooperatives near the urban Kombo area of The Gambia. To my understanding a survey of microplastics and analysis of effects in this specific region has not been conducted and is very important.

Project Timeline

The study is expected to be completed within six (6) months from the time it has reached its funding goal.

May 29, 2024

Project Launched

Jun 30, 2024

Secure research partners and finalize the sampling strategy. Collect soil samples from designated plots in the community garden

Jul 31, 2024

-Preliminary analysis of soil samples to assess the feasibility of the chosen microplastic analysis method. -Methodology for soil health assessment and plant growth monitoring.

Aug 31, 2024

Complete microplastic analysis of soil samples and conduct soil health assessment using chosen methods

Sep 30, 2024

Begin plant growth monitoring in designated plots

Meet the Team

Ebrima Jarra
Ebrima Jarra
Executive Director

Affiliates

The Soil Solution
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Team Bio

We have a team of experts in soils, natural resources and environment with decades of experience. See our website: www.thesoilsolution.gm


Ebrima Jarra

Ebrima's mission is to work with grassroots organisations, governments, civil society, the private sector and others to address socio-economic challenges related to food security and ecosystem system services in local communities in Gambia/Africa.

Lab Notes

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Additional Information

This study offers a cost-effective approach to assess microplastic contamination in a women's community garden. The findings will guide plastic use and promote best practices for sustainable environmental management, and healthy local food production while maintaining the ecosystem and helping to achieve the donor's target.

We recognize the critical importance of addressing plastic pollution and its associated risks to human health and the environment. We believe small community actions are essential to achieve this goal and ensure a healthy approach within the international frameworks on plastic pollution.


Project Backers

  • 2Backers
  • 1%Funded
  • $70Total Donations
  • $35.00Average Donation
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