Senior Biologist, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Lusaka, Zambia
Master of Science (Research) with First Class Honours
Around the world many people die from poorly managed waste disposal sites, but how can we assess the risks landfill sites pose? Milimo Muleya, who came to AUT from Zambia to study a Master of Science (Research), used geospatial science to gain a better understanding of waste disposal sites.
“I researched how photogrammetry can be used for conducting a risk assessment of a landfill site. My research was motivated by looking around at the various amounts of waste we produce and send to landfill sites.
“In Zambia, solid waste management is a problem for many communities and that inspired my research. My research will help communities and industry understand the risks associated with unregulated disposal sites and highlight the need for sustainable waste management practices.”
Milimo’s research was supervised by Professor Michael Petterson and Graham Hinchliffe from AUT’s School of Science.
“My biggest challenge was turning the vision for my research into reality, as I wasn’t sure what technology I could use to critically analyse an entire landfill. AUT helped me by connecting me to the right supervisors whose combined expertise enables me to work on a research project I was passionate about.”
The right environment
AUT proved to be the right environment to pursue his research, says Milimo whose studies were supported by a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade scholarship.
“AUT has afforded me the opportunity to learn from highly experienced and knowledgeable educators and friendly staff. I’ve been able to study how to apply technology to science, especially in environmental science. Throughout my time at AUT, I was able to meet and interact with a diverse group of people from all over the world, and got to network and share experiences and ideas.”
Now back in Zambia, Milimo is looking forward to applying what he has learnt to make a difference to his country.
“Being at AUT was an amazing experience, and I learned a lot that will make a difference in the Zambian waste management sector. I recently had the chance to present my AUT research to the Zambia Environmental Management Agency and Lusaka City Council. Due to my presentations, I was also offered a position at the Zambia Environmental Management Agency where I will be able to use the skills acquired at AUT to guide management decisions.
“My long-term plans also include growing a geospatial based business that utilises unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for precision farming and environmental monitoring.”
Advice for other students
Milimo, who completed his studies in 2020, has some great advice for other students.
“AUT has various resources to ensure you study what you’re passionate about and there are support systems in place to overcome any challenges you might face. Everybody is super friendly, so have fun, work hard, smile and be awesome.”
He would recommend the AUT science programme to others.
“Science and technology have always combined to create better scientists and AUT combines both to produce the best in the field. AUT offers a wide range of programmes for students with varying interests, and has the expertise and facilities to ensure students have a full understanding of what they choose to study.”