By Olivia Obijiaku
Mr. Raymond Tyoakaa Iorhemen, a Ph.D. candidate of analytical chemistry (with a research focus on environmental clean-up – remediation and reclamation) in the Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Physical Sciences, with his team (Kwalabe) and Ahmed Mahmud, also with his team (P-Xchange) both (teams) of Ahmadu Bello University, (ABU) Zaria were among the six finalists at the Circular Plastic Innovation Challenge (CPEIHUB), which took place on Thursday, 16th June 2022 as funded bthe British Council and delivered by a consortium consisting of DeMontfort University, Leicester, UK; Africa’a largest innovation hub, Co-creation Hub; and the African Union’s University, Pan African University of Life and Earth Sciences Institute (PAULESI).
The two teams emerged from ABU out of sixty participants from the university. Of the six universities comprising Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; University of Nigeria, Nsukka; University of Lagos; University of Ibadan, and the Pan African University of Life and Earth Sciences that took part in the challenge, four universities made it to the finals of the virtual challenge that produced team Sea X, headed by Bunmi Akinremi (OAU); team REstabilize, headed by Samuel Osondu (UNN); and team Bolster, headed by Chidinma Oduenyi, (UNN) as the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd positions respectively with varying rewards.
Though Mr. Iorhemen, who is also a member of the Fellowship of Catholic Postgraduate Students (FCPS), Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, ABU was not among the first three, he disclosed in an interview with daily updates news thus: “My team members – Kator Jeff Jomboh and Andrew Ojonugwa Adejo, both Ph.D. candidates in the Department of Glass and Silicate Technology; Dorcas Ella Asuku and Jeremiah Ochei Alika, MSc and Ph.D. candidates in Water Resources and Environmental Engineering respectively – who worked on the Conversion of Nylon/Plastic Bottles (Low-Density Polyethylene) and Post Consumer Glass into Composite Material to form riot shield for security agencies demonstrated a great deal of commitment and innovation. They were carefully selected and the intellectual inputs they brought on board during the interaction are worthy of choosing them again if such an opportunity presents itself again. It feels great being a part of this competition. I learned never to undermine the creative instincts of the mind. Participating in this challenge has taught me to always keep an open mind at opportunities”
CPEIHUB project was aimed at solving the puzzle posed by plastics in the environment by getting participants to come up with innovations on leveraging emerging technologies to reduce the production and usage of plastic products; leveraging technologies to influence the behaviours of individuals toward the reuse of plastic products; and leveraging additive manufacturing to convert plastic waste into tangible items that are harmless to the environment and climate.