Research Undertaken by Associate Professor Ronnie Frazer-Williams

Department of Chemistry, FBC 

  1. Research Topic/Title: Establishing and Improving Air Pollution Monitoring

Project Number: RAF7016

Sponsor: International Atomic Energy Agency

Project Duration: 2016 – 2019

Brief Project Description Background:

It is generally perceived that air pollution is one of the most vexing problems facing industrialized and developing countries. It is recognized that air pollutants such oxides of sulphur and nitrogen, ozone, acid rain and airborne particulate matter including toxic elements can have adverse effects to human health, environment, and ecology. As the continent of Africa begins to industrialize on a large scale, it is in a unique position to implement regulations and thus avoid many of the problems that have occurred in the northern hemisphere. Currently, the majority of the African countries are not pursuing comprehensive air pollution monitoring programs. While some isolated projects are being carried out in few African countries, there is no formal cooperation in air pollution monitoring or regulation in Africa compared to Western Europe or North America.

Although regional inventories for Europe, Asia and North America are extremely detailed, those for Africa are scanty. In order to fill this gap, RAF 7016 will help to characterize and define air pollution in Africa and also to develop improved models. The project aims to rely on the inventories to better assess the impact of pollutant emissions on the health of Africa’s urban populations and to help African decision-makers to make enlightened choices to improve air quality in African cities.

Participating Countries: Sierra Leone is amongst 16 members states within Africa participating in the project.

National Coordinator of the Project: Dr Ronnie Frazer-Williams is the National Coordinator leading the project.

  1. Research Topic/Title: Identification of air pollution elements in Lichens as bio-indicators in major cities in Sierra Leone by XRF and AAS methods

Project Number: SIL1001

Sponsor: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

Project Duration: 2018 – 2019

Brief Project Description

Air pollution is the introduction of particulates, gases and other harmful materials into the earth’s atmosphere which causes diseases, deaths to humans, damage to living things ( e.g. crops and animals) as well as the natural and build environment. Urban air quality and indoor air pollution are listed as two of the world’s worst toxic pollution.

In Sierra Leone, there has a growing concern in our major cities of the air quality. Social-economic activities such as traffic, quarrying, road constructions, diverse industries emitting air pollutants have resulted in increasing flux of air pollutants into the atmosphere. Major localized emissions presently are dumpsites (Kargbo and Frazer-Williams, Accepted; Frazer-Williams, 2015).

In a bid to provide scientifically based information, this project will use lichens as bio-indicators to investigate the extent of air pollution in and around our major cities. Results will be disseminated in both scientific journal and non-scientific report for policy makers so that informed decision will be made for the protection and safety of citizens in Sierra Leone.


The project aim to achieve the following objectives:

  • Compare efficiency between AAS and XRF methods in analyzing the metals
  • Identify hotspots of air pollutants around major cities in the country
  • Identify and categorize air pollutants within the countries major cities
  • Identify the most abundant air pollution element in our cities
  • Provide information that will help support national database of air pollution inventory in the country

End users:

  1. Policy makers will benefit as they will make informed decision based on scientific findings
  2. The populace will be better informed of air pollution status of their cities and how it impact their health
  3. Environmental health consideration can be generated from the outcome of the study