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Rural School Science Lab Waste Treatment in Tanzania

Rural School Science Lab Waste Treatment in Tanzania

Many secondary schools in Tanzania conduct chemistry laboratory experiments with hundreds of students.

As a result of these exercises, these schools generate non-trivial quantities of chemical waste. These wastes can contain heavy metals from qualitative analysis experiments (lead, silver, and copper), organic chemicals (diethyl ether, chloroform), and may be corrosive and/or reactive. Current practice is to pour these wastes directly into the environment (school flower beds, for example), or into school latrine pits that are sometimes subsequently pumped onto school crops.

A successful project would identify the kinds and volumes of waste being produced and develop a set of very inexpensive and very simple protocols that teachers could follow to mitigate human and environmental risk from chemical waste. A successful project also creates a training and protocol to guide adoption and implementation. A regional waste collection and treatment company would also be an acceptable solution.

The Tanzanian Ministry of Education has an extensive in-service teacher training program that could disseminate ideas to hundreds of teachers. Local teachers colleges and universities could also serve as means of dissemination.

Contact Aron Walker who is teaching MIT D-Lab's Education Class at  aronwalk (at) alum (dot)


(image from flickr under the use of Creative Commons; thanks to user Danisabella.)

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