Microplastic pollution

in Lake Victoria
Group photo at Africa Charter launch
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Microplastic pollution: Characterization, source apportionment and impacts in Winam Gulf of Lake Victoria

Project team


Microplastic pollution has received global attention in the last 10 years, following decades of accelerated large-scale production of plastics worldwide, including Africa. However, there is very little information on the occurrence, distribution, fate and impact of MPs pollution in various environmental compartments in Africa. This is due to lack of capacity and/or lack of access to modern scientific equipment required for microplastic analyses.

This study will be based on the waters of Winam Gulf which is a 56km shallow gulf from the lake which stretches to Kisumu, Kenya’s third largest city with a population of about 1 million and where there is also caged fish farming. The study will attempt to identify the extent of microplastic pollution in the Lake water as well as the nature and extent of pollution from additives that feature in the plastics in varying forms, ranging from dyes, UV stabilisers, plasticisers, flame retardants, among other pollutants.

The effect of microplastics on phytoplankton, the microscopic aquatic algae, that inhabit the lake just beneath its surface and which through photosynthesis utilise carbon from the atmosphere and are therefore essential in carbon drawdown, will be evaluated.

This study was developed by Dr. Fred A. Lisouza of Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST), Kenya, in collaboration with Dr. Charlotte Lloyd of University of Bristol (UoB), UK. Sampling and preliminary sample processing will be done at MMUST, while sample analysis will be carried out at UoB.

The study will also host one MSc (Chemistry) student (Female) registered at MMUST, who will be jointly supervised by Dr Lisouza and Dr Charlotte Lloyd. Dr Lisouza will be the corresponding author to the publication resulting from this work.