In my first blog entry as a PhD student here at the Department of Biosciences, I would like to introduce you to the AnthroTox crew, lead by Katrine Borgå and Paul Wenzel Geissler.
AntroTox is a part of the new Life Science convergence environment, and a interdisciplinary project with researchers from social anthropology, environmental chemistry and biology.
By combining natural and social scientists, we aim to understand how anthropogenic contaminants are distributed globally, both passively via long-range atmospheric transport, and actively by global trade of various products containing these contaminants.
We want to explore the social and political aspects of harmful chemicals, how they are released in the environment and how wildlife and humans may be exposed to them. Particularly, we want to study the contaminants that are associated with electrical products and e-waste, such as PCBs and flame retardants.
E-waste is a global problem and the fastest growing waste stream in the world today. The issue of e-waste is of particular concern in developing countries, where domestic use of electrical goods is growing and where sufficient recycling practices are lacking.
Read more about the project here.
Since the project started up this January, some of us have already had the pleasure of visiting our study area: Tanzania.
Here, we met our local collaborators from the Institute of Marine Sciences and visited local government institutions to better understand the fate of electrical products and e-waste on Zanzibar and in Dar es Salaam.
Last week we all attended the official AnthroTox kick-off meeting in Oslo. Here, all the PhD students presented their ideas for their project and we had discussions with supervisors and members of the advisory board.
E-waste in marine food webs
For my PhD project in environmental toxicology, I will explore the accumulation of contaminants associated with e-waste in marine food webs in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, and how activities related to e-waste such as recycling and dismantling may lead to contamination of the local environment.
Next step is to write our project descriptions and prepare for the main field season this summer!
Written by Ane Haarr, who is a PhD student in toxicology at AKVA/Department of Biosciences
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