Status, progress and challenges of phytoremediation - An African scenario

Chuks Kenneth Odoh, Nenibarini Zabbey, Kabari Sam*, Chibuzor Nwadibe Eze

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Environmental pollution occasioned by artisanal activities and technical failures at exploration sites has affected mostly oil producing and other mineral resources mining regions in developed and developing nations. As conventional techniques of remediation seem to be progressively unreliable and inefficient, contaminated land management experts have adopted a plant-based technology described as ‘phytoremediation’ for effective detoxification and removal of contaminants in substrate environmental media (soil and sediment). This technique, has gained public acceptance because of its aesthetic, eco-friendly, solar energy driven and low cost attributes. With complexity of environmental pollution in Africa, identification of appropriate remediation approach that deliver net environmental benefit and economic profit to the society is vital, while also focusing on the exploitation of plants genetic tools for more clarity on phyto tolerance, uptake and translocation of pollutants. In this article, we reviewed the status, progress and challenges of phytoremediation in selected African countries (South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zambia, Egypt and Ghana), the ecological impact of the pollutants, phytoremediation strategies and the possible plants of choice. Besides highlighting the support roles played by soil fauna and flora, the fate of harvested biomass/dieback and its future prospects are also discussed. We further explored the factors challenging phytoremediation progress in Africa, amidst its promising potentials and applicability for sustainable ecosystem management paradigm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-378
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Early online date25 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


  • Africa
  • Environment
  • Mining
  • Phytoremediation
  • Pollution

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