The Agricultural Research Council is conducting a study for the Water Research Commission (Project
2021/2022-00256) in collaboration with Tshwane University of Technology, North-West University and University of South Africa to establish a portal consisting of emerging aquatic pollutants viz. the Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CEC) Knowledge Hub.
What are Contaminants of Emerging Concern?
Contaminants of Emerging Concern are pollutants that have previously been at levels below detection limits, which are now being detected by water professionals in our water bodies. These can include nanomaterials, flame-retardants, microplastics, agricultural waste, microbial contaminants, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals and personal care products, which may cause ecological and human health impacts.
How do Contaminants of Emerging Concern end up in our water bodies?
The production and use of consumer products are the major contributing factor to pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCP) in our water bodies and are either not removed or chemically transformed throughout waste water treatment processes. If you consider your own morning rou ne and the contaminant exposure we are faced with daily (Figure 2), you are able to predict the magnitude of CEC release into our ecosystems.
Why do we need to establish a database of CECs?
The continued unregulated use of products containing CECs could lead to several ecological risks. The eﬀects of these contaminants on the environment is becoming increasingly important. Therefore, in order to address this, more research needs to focus on collating currently available outcomes and these results need to be made available to regulators in order to develop environmental laws in a proactive manner. The database will also guide us in pre-empting any aquatic catastrophe relating to CECs by identifying the problem and taking relevant, informed steps to prevent it from escalating beyond control. In so doing we can collectively preserve and improve the quality of our precious, limited resource....fresh water.
Dr Ashira Roopnarain (Project Leader) – ARC
Dr Tarryn Botha (Principal Investigator) – UNISA;
Prof Rasheed Adeleke - NWU
Prof Ntebogeng Mokgalaka - TUT
Dr Maryam Bello-Akinosho - ARC
Dr Busiswa Ndaba – ARC
Dr Emomotimi Bamuza-Pemu - OptimalEnviro Consulting
Dr Michael van der Laan - ARC
Ms Phedisho Mphahlele – TUT/ARC
Ms Fanelesibonge Vilakazi – NWU/ARC
Mr Zibusiso Ncube – ARC
Mr Gert De Nysschen - ARC
Mr Akani Mushwana - ARC