The permanent secretary of Ecological Fund Office (EFO), Dr Habiba Lawal, has noted that the aim of embarking on remediation project was to restore the environment and socio-economic activities of residents in the affected communities.
She stated at the commissioning and handover of the N1.3billion remediated sludge pit behind Warri Refining & Petrochemical Company Limited (WRPC) at Ubeji community, Delta State.
The remediated sludge pit which is sitting on a 2, 442 hectares of land was executed by Messrs Andelta Limited in collaboration with its technical partners, GOI Technology Nigeria Limited and supervised by Messrs ENVAP consultancy services.
It was designed to solve the problem of oil sludge discharge by the refinery as well as the remediation of the sludge that spilled into adjoining creeks, fishponds, rivers and farmlands.
The perm sec who was represented by EFO director of pollution control, Mr Gandy Chega, commended the project contractor and consultant who worked tirelessly to ensure timely completion of the project in line with project implementation schedule.
She maintained that the CLOGEN technology approved as the Best Applicable Technology (BAT) for the Remediation work is an indigenous technology.
The perm sec revealed that the technology was chosen based on the local content principle of this administration as stipulated in the federal government’s Executive Order No3.
While commending the project contractor and consultant for their doggedness in ensuring timely and speedy completion of the project, she implored the community to cherish the laudable project.
She was optimistic that the successful completion of the project would improve the living standard of the community, promote socio-economic development and assist in mitigating the impacts of associated oil pollution that were experienced by the 27 impacted communities in recent times.
Analysing the scope of the project, the representative of Messrs Andelta Limited, Prof Godwin Igile, noted that the sludge contained 278 million metric tonnes of oil before the commencement of the remediation on June 2017.
He stated that DCM analysis showed that the oil quality was not suitable for recovery but may be suitable for convention into asphaltic boodemen adding that the company chose to bio-degrade it based on socio-economic comparative terms.
Igile stated that at the end of December 2017 that the entire objectives to the contract had been completed, while 95 per cent of the entire site had been vegetated.
He noted that the sludge was bio-degraded using selected enzymes and a cocktail of micros carried out into a well formulated bio-polymer mix in accordance with the established technology.
“Once oily mass is inoculated with our product, biodegradation is expected to be completed within three to six months,” he said.
Igile stressed that their technology is an innovation that should be encouraged, adding that they were ready to contribute their knowledge for the growth of the country.
The project consultant, Dr. Adetokunbo Adedeji of Messrs ENVAP Consultancy Services noted that he cherished the project, having worked as the head of Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA).
He pointed out that the level of pollution in the area was massive saying that the community have absolute responsibility to protect the remediated site against future occurrence and utilise the site for other beneficial project.
Adedeji maintained that EFO should inform NNPC that henceforth that Pollutant Pay Principle would be applied to their other activities in the area.
“If you pollute an area, it is the polluter who should be held responsible so that federal government can channel its resources to other areas of life and not cleaning up a mess that somebody else created,” he said.
He thanked the community leaders saying that without their cooperation it would have been difficult to achieve result.
A representative of the community, Hon Griftson Omatsuli, informed that the community removed the pipe connected to sludge in 2009 after the first remediation that extended to 2010.
He stated that the refinery continued dumping other waste after 2009 which the community rejected adding that the refinery started using the sludge since its inception in 1978.
“I can remember vividly in 2009/2010 after some wonderful struggles with key stakeholders in this environment, many of us went to Abuja to lay complaints to the federal government, which they referred us to ecological funds.”
Omatsuli, who is the chief executive officer of RIOMAT Nigeria Limited assured that the community would monitor the site and stop the refinery from further dumping of waste in the remediated sludge.
Another native who spoke on condition of anonymity said that worse scenario had happened in other areas for the past 30 years adding that the community had suffered neglect due to the presence of crude oil in Niger Delta.
He stated that their farmland and water had been polluted with crude oil thereby stopping their means of livelihood.
He thanked the federal government for remediating the site and pleaded that government should hasten work at the Ogoniland oil spill site.
‘Menstrual Hygiene Management Will Reduce Environmental Pollution’
The director, department of pollution control and environmental health, ministry of environment, Mr Charles Ikeah, has maintained that menstrual hygiene management was fundamental to protecting the environment.
This he believed would prevent the indiscriminate disposal of menstrual wastes, reduce environmental pollution and degradation associated with the waste as well as prevent its attendant effect on health and national economy.
He stated this in Abuja while briefing newsmen as part of the activities lined up to commemorate this year’s World Menstrual Hygiene Day in collaboration with Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria (EHORECON) and Grassroot Environmental Healthcare Initiative (GEHI) with the theme: ‘No More Limit.’
He regretted that inadequate access to information at home and in schools resulted to millions of women being ignorant about menstrual hygiene management.
Also speaking, the registrar of Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria (EHORECON), Sanitarian, Dominic Abonyi, recalled that a German non-governmental organisation, De-wash United had in 2014 initiated the idea of World Menstrual Hygiene Day saying that the entire population in the health and environment sector embraced it as a day meant to raise awareness especially on the need for good menstrual hygiene management.
He stated that menstrual hygiene management was not scientific enough until the development of safe science menstrual hygiene management that created a problem as recent materials used in menstrual hygiene defied environmental decay.
According to him, “They may not classically be called plastics but they belong to the class of recalcitrant materials that refused to leave the environment.”
The sanitarian hinted that while environmentalists are brainstorming on the environmental hazards of plastic bags, that the embarrassment of bad menstrual id worrisome.
He reinstated his support to the department of pollution control and environmental health for the rejuvenated environmental control and public awareness.
Abonyi urged them not to relent in joining forces with other ministries and departments involved in sanitation adding that sanitation is cross- cutting.
He emphasised that lack of menstrual hygiene caused mental retardation and ill-health especially infertility due to complications arising from contamination.
This is even as he noted that good menstrual hygiene management has two broad implications such as personal hygiene and environmental sanitation.
On her part, the coordinator of GEHI Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) division, Charity Uzoma, stated that the foundation in collaboration with ministry of environment visited Government Secondary School, Bwari, Government Day Secondary School, Bwari and Government Day Secondary School, Dutse, and educated 258 students as well as 23 teachers on the importance of menstrual hygiene.
She thanked the ministry for its support and cooperation even as she solicited the partnership of stakeholders on GEHI’s school sanitation project.
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