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Egypt Receives Gamma-ray Detector to Save Nile Delta From Erosion

The Nile Delta has decreased by 45% since the 1980s.

egyptian soil fertility

Egypt and Senegal have each received a gamma spectroscopy detector through International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to help fight soil erosion that their fertile lands are suffering from.

The gamma-ray detectors are meant to analyse soil erosion in areas with severe land degradation like Egypt's Nile Delta, which has decreased by more than 45% since 1980s. The gamma detectors can perceive decreased levels of erosion using fallout radionuclide tracers.

"We will use the gamma detectors for the 'fingerprinting' of sedimentation in the Nile River to trace the origin of contamination from different sources, such as drainage from industrial and agricultural bodies located on the riverbank," said Mohamed Kassab, a lecturer at the Nuclear Research Centre. "We also plan to help other countries in Africa to build capacity in gamma measurements and analytical services." 

The method is long-term, meaning expensive monitoring programmes will no longer be necessary. This could also help further research towards land management, sustainability, and food security.

The provision of the gamma detectors is part of a move to help African countries control the soil erosion, in an initiative between the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and IEAE.

Soil erosion and land degradation are caused by human activities such as over-exploitation of land, or natural reasons like weather, which can turn an agricultural land into a dead zone. 


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