SEGH Articles

SEGH 2020 Geochemistry for Sustainable Development

18 November 2019
SEGH is pleased to invite you to the 36th international conference from the 6-10th July 2020 in Eldoret, Kenya with the theme of Geochemistry for Sustainable Development.

An exponential growth of interest in Africa could see a quick rise in growth of SEGH memberships and activities owing to the need for multi-disciplinary research and connectivity between research challenges and in particular need to address the United Nations Strategic Development Goals (SDGs). The first SEGH international conference in Africa alongside Victoria Falls in Livingstone, Zambia attracted large numbers of new members and interest in creating multi-disciplinary networks, particularly following the creation of an African regional group. To consolidate on this progress a second conference will aim to strengthen the presence of SEGH in Africa, a region that is rapidly developing for which its growing economic activities are centred on exploitation of natural resources through intensification of agriculture and fisheries, mineral extraction, rapid population growth and a predicted shift from rural to urban living over the next 50 years.  Such development can benefit from the ability of SEGH community to undertake research across disciplines to inform sustainable development.

Eldoret is a fast growing city with many world standard Hotel venues for conferences. Its climate and security are highly predictable and suitable for persons drawn from different climatic zones. Lying at 2300m above sea level it has a mostly balmy warm climate, safe and peaceful. It has good international air links from within and beyond Africa. It is a renowned home of the World’s best long distance runners and a home of two key National Universities (University of Eldoret and Moi University) and a number of tertiary level colleges, hence is a fairly young town. It is surrounded by a number of key tourist attractions for day trips including the Kakamega Tropical Rain Forest, the iconic Rift valley, Mount Elgon National park famous for the Kitum Cave elephants and Bogoria hot springs – a sanctuary for birds especially the pink flamingos.

The themes of the 36th International conference will be:

Urban & Industrial development

Agriculture & Fisheries



The Boma Inn will provide the conference venue for oral and poster presentations, alongside exhibitors and sponsors from the 6-8th July.  The venue is owned by the Red Cross and will provide a professional venue for all activities, similar to the experience for those who attended in Zambia. Poster presentations will include a flash presentation as for the last two conferences, but with a twist.  For 2020, rather than 90 seconds they will last for 1 minute 59 seconds in recognition of the human endeavour to break the 2 hour marathon record.  Oral presentations will largely comprise of 12 minutes + 3 minutes for questions.  We ask interested delegates to start planning their abstracts and will aim for an earlier abstract deadline towards the end of January 2020 to allow for delegates to seek permission to attend and visa authorisation. 

Training day – on the 9th July we will host a training day at the University of Eldoret and anticipate some of the courses to include QGIS, R for statistics, Quality Assurance for laboratories, how to write/review a paper along with other topics to be confirmed. 

Field Trip – on the 10th July, the field trip will take in the Artisanal Gold Mining operation in Kakamega to view the operations and challenges facing miners and their families.  This will be followed by a trip through the Kakamega rainforest towards the tea estates of Nandi Hills and back to Eldoret.

Additional information about the conference will be released in the coming weeks and a website is in preparation for the submission of abstracts and registration.  We will provide more information regarding travel options and potential leisure activities for those who wish to take a holiday whilst in Kenya.  A number of hotel options exist within 1-2km of the conference venue, for which transport will be provided each day to the venue.  Prices range from $30-40 per night for budget options (Palmers), $40-80 per night for mid-budget (greatest number of rooms – Club Eldoret, Poa Place Resort, Noble Resort, Kenmosa Resort) and at the conference venue itself $120-150 per night (Boma Inn).  We will negotiate further discounts for the conference.

We aim to charge $250 for African and student delegates and $500 for all others, but will confirm costs in the coming weeks.  We aim to include cocktail drinks and snacks on the conference days for poster sessions in the evenings, as well as a conference dinner for 6-8th July within the delegate cost.  Subject to sponsorship, we are also aiming to include the field trip within the same cost and will provide the training day free of cost. More details on the conference themes, guides for the posters and presentations and logistics will be provided in a short while.

Conference lead

Professor Odipo Osano, University of Eldoret

Assisted by:

Conference Organising Committee

Dr Lydia Olaka, University of Nairobi

Dr Diana Menya, Moi University

Dr Chris Aura, Kenya Ministry for Fisheries Research Institute

Dr Michael Watts, British Geological Survey (President SEGH)

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Science in the News

Latest on-line papers from the SEGH journal: Environmental Geochemistry and Health

  • Soil contamination and human health: Part 1—preface 2020-01-27
  • The influence of application of biochar and metal-tolerant bacteria in polluted soil on morpho-physiological and anatomical parameters of spring barley 2020-01-27


    The paper presents the results of the model experiment on spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) grown in polluted soil. The influence of separate and combined application of wood biochar and heavy metal-tolerant bacteria on morpho-physiological, anatomical and ultrastructural parameters of H. vulgare L. has been studied. The joint application of biochar and bacteria increased the shoot length by 2.1-fold, root length by 1.7-fold, leaf length by 2.3-fold and dry weight by threefold compared to polluted variant, bringing the plant parameters to the control level. The maximal quantum yield of photosystem II decreased by 8.3% in H. vulgare L. grown in contaminated soil, whereas this decrease was less in biochar (7%), bacteria (6%) and in combined application of bacteria and biochar (5%). As for the transpiration rate, the H. vulgare L. grown in polluted soil has shown a decrease in transpiration rate by 26%. At the same time, the simultaneous application of biochar and bacteria has led to a significant improvement in the transpiration rate (14%). The H. vulgare L. also showed anatomical (integrity of epidermal, vascular bundles, parenchymal and chlorenchymal cells) and ultrastructural (chloroplasts, thylakoid system, plastoglobules, starch grains, mitochondria, peroxisomes, ribosomes, endoplasmic reticulum, vacuoles) changes, revealed by light-optical and transmission electron microscopy of leaf sections. The effects were most prominent in H. vulgare L., grown in polluted soil but gradually improved with application of biochar, bacteria and their combination. The use of biochar in combination with metal-tolerant bacteria is an efficient tool for remediation of soils, contaminated with heavy metals. The positive changes caused by the treatment can be consistently traced at all levels of plant organization.

  • Earthworms and vermicompost: an eco-friendly approach for repaying nature’s debt 2020-01-23


    The steady increase in the world’s population has intensified the need for crop productivity, but the majority of the agricultural practices are associated with adverse effects on the environment. Such undesired environmental outcomes may be mitigated by utilizing biological agents as part of farming practice. The present review article summarizes the analyses of the current status of global agriculture and soil scenarios; a description of the role of earthworms and their products as better biofertilizer; and suggestions for the rejuvenation of such technology despite significant lapses and gaps in research and extension programs. By maintaining a close collaboration with farmers, we have recognized a shift in their attitude and renewed optimism toward nature-based green technology. Based on these relations, it is inferred that the application of earthworm-mediated vermitechnology increases sustainable development by strengthening the underlying economic, social and ecological framework.

    Graphic abstract