An ecotoxicological first for UCT

24 February 2003
UCT recently hosted the first ecotoxicological conference ever to be held in Southern Africa.

The Pesticides in Non-target Agricultural Environments: Environmental and Economic Implications conference brought together ecotoxicologists, chemists and economists, representing academia, industry and government.

More than 100 delegates from 20 different countries, including seven African nations, attended the three-day event. The programme included nine plenary speakers, as well as platform and poster presentations organised around the main topics, pesticide exposure ecotoxicological effects, risk assessment and economic implications.

According to organiser James Dabrowski, the conference was a way of presenting the results of a Volkswagen (Germany) sponsored collaborative research project that involved UCT's Department of Zoology, the University of Stellenbosch and the Technical University Braunschweig in Germany.

"Pesticide research in South Africa is very new. There is not a lot of research being done on the impact of pesticides in non-target environments. The whole idea was to get as many Europeans as possible to attend the conference, so that there is a constant exchange of ideas between the European and South Africa perspectives," explained Dabrowszki.

He said the conference highlighted the enormous disparities between the advances in pesticide control in Europe and in Africa.

"The conference gave us some indication of how far we have to go in this sort of research, but our [South African] research is of the same standard as theirs and we have done some good research.

"We will continue to do good research as we are confident that our grant will be extended for another year," he said.

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