The Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms Marion Kappeyne, has said the country is ready to support Nigeria to clean-up decades-long oil spills in Ogoniland.
Kappeyne made the disclosure in Ebube while inspecting ongoing remediation of one of the polluted sites in Ebube community, Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State.
She said the clean-up project was one of the Nigerian government’s top priorities that needed the support of all to succeed.
“I came to see things for myself rather than sitting in Abuja and just reading them in the newspapers.
“This part of the country (Niger Delta) is very important, and so, we are following things up to ensure the clean-up is a success,” she said.
She expressed confidence that the clean-up would be carried out in line with global best practice due to collaboration and supervision of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
“The people are assured that they are not forgotten, as we came to see how we can support the clean-up exercise.
“I understand the impatience as people want to see results in cleaning up of their lands. I can see that work is ongoing and hopefully it will produce results soon.
“However, it will be of no one’s interest that the lands which are being remediated get re-contaminated again,” she said.
Also speaking, the UNEP representative to Nigeria, Mike Cowing, said the global body was satisfied with biological processes being carried out in the Ebube remediation site.
He said that the Federal Government had re-engaged UNEP to strengthen the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) for full implementation of the 2011 UNEP recommendations.
“The Ebube site is a site that is going to be less complex. When we move to the heavily contaminated sites, then, we will face a more sophisticated remediation approach.
“For site of this nature, what I am seeing now is appropriate and in line with what I had expected.”
Cowing said that UNEP had initiated some training courses and had taken members of the clean-up governing council to the United Kingdom (UK) for training.
“We took them to the UK to expose them to large remediation projects in the UK, so that they would have an understanding of how projects are done.
“The council members were exposed to the technology, planning, contractual relationship as well as compliance to legislation.
On his part, Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Dr Marvin Dekil, said that contractors handling the clean-up were already using one of the best soil treatment technologies, biocell, for the project.
According to him, biocell is a biological treatment facility that remedies contaminated soil with use of natural micro organisms.
“The contaminated soil is excavated and put into the biocell for bio-remediation treatment to take place. This allows the natural micro organism to degrade the contaminated soil.
“The micro organism degrades the contaminated soil to a level that would be good enough for us to return the soil to where we took it from,” he said.
Dekil said the clean-up was the first time the Federal Government would be undertaking such task and, as such, was taking practical steps to ensure its success.
HYPREP in the Federal Ministry of Environment was set-up by the Federal Government to coordinate the clean-up of oil-rich but polluted Ogoniland.
Rivers Community Decries Presence Of Poisonous Substance In Water Sources
Indigenes of Ogale Community in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State have decried the continuous presence of Bonzynes in their water sources across section of indigenes of the community who spoke to The Tide in an interview said the situation has forced the entire community to depend on sachet water both for drinking and other domestic uses.
They stressed the need for the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) to fast track the process of providing potable water to the community.
Chief Harrison Olungwe who spoke in The Tide on the issue, said it is worrisome that the people of Ogale have continue to suffer the effect of water pollution.
Olungwe said, he now depends on sachet water for drinking and other domestic purposes.
He said the boreholes recently constructed by HYPREP in the community have not solved the problem of water supply in the area.
According to him, Ogale needs industrialised water system that can be distributed to all households in the area.
Olungwe who is the head chief of Mbumeta community, Ogale, said the community is now sensitizing people to stop using polluted and contaminated water in the area.
Also speaking Chief Abel Olungwe, stressed the need for collaboration between the state and federal governments to provide water to the people. He said the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) water facilities at Aleto can be utilized by the authority to provide water not just to Ogale community but the entire Eleme Local Government Area.
“Government should use what we have on ground to provide water to the community,” he said.
He further confirmed that because of the presence of Benzyne on water in the area, the people have been asked to source for water outside to avoid an out of break of epidemic.
Flooding: Foundation Wants Preservation Of Mangrove Forest
The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has urged Nigerians to preserve the nation’s mangrove forest zone to prevent incessant flooding in the country.
The foundation’s Director-General, Dr Muhtari Aminu-Kano, said that the mangrove, located along the nation’s coastal area, acts as a buffer to ocean surge that resulted to flood when sea level had risen.
The conservationist, who spoke on the menace of flooding, in an interview in Lagos said that the destruction of the mangrove had left human habitat bare to the vagaries of ocean and sea.
The mangrove forest consists of trees that grow near the coast with the roots hanging from their branches into the water.
The DG of the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in Nigeria, inclined towards nature conservation, saying that the flooding ravaging Nigeria in recent times could be traced to human activities.
“The cutting of trees in this zone and the encroachment of structures in urban centres such as Lagos are depleting the buffer zone.
“As a rainforest zone with a lengthy stretch of coastal line nature provides us with mangrove as a buffer to flood that can come as a result of sea level rise.
“Lagos, seating below sea level, should be of priority to the state and the Federal Government with a view to maintaining and preserving mangrove to avert flood and sustain life.
“Regrettably, the mangrove maintenance crusade never started earlier alongside the urbanisation and the floods are here threatening our habitat with tales of woes,’’ he said.
According to him, the realisation of the consciousness of our misdeed to mangrove destruction and the implementation of policies toward afforestation and preservation of what remains of it will halt the further danger.
He said that NCF had drawn the attention of the federal government to the Lagos beach erosion.
Aminu-Kano added that NCF had also been working in partnership with the Lagos Ministry of Environment and Water Resources to stem the tide.
He spoke on the need to intensify sensitisation of people toward sustainable management and enhancement of forest carbon stock and reducing emissions from deforestation.
NIHSA’s Flood Warning: RIWAMA Sues For Caution
The Sole Administrator, Rivers State Waste Management Agency (RIWAMA), Bro. Felix Obuah has again called on people of the State not to dispose of their wastes into gutters and other water channels, to avoid blockage of water channels which resultant effect is flooding in the State.
Bro. Obuah in a statement said his call was based on the listing of the State by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) among the seven states that will witness heavy flooding in the coming weeks.
He regretted that some residents and those doing business in the State have cultivated the habit of indiscriminate dumping of solid wastes and plastics into canals which also cause blockage of canals and cause flooding.
The RIWAMA Sole Administrator further regretted that the incidence of was manifesting just as predicted by the NIHSA because people failed to heed the warnings issued by the Agency before the onset of flooding season in the country.
Bro. Obuah said the situation called for collaborative efforts by residents across the 23 Local Government Areas to ensure that the State is not caught up by the impending flood disaster and also charged Rivers people to ensure that their gutters and other water channels are regularly cleared of wastes.
The RIWAMA boss noted that the Agency had often warned residents and those doing business in the State to adhere to environmental rules by not throwing garbage into the gutters and other waterways, as these would impede the free flow of water.
“The flood disaster which devastated several parts of the State in 2012 is still very fresh in mind and should serve as a wake-up call for all residents and people doing business in the State to take appropriate steps to avoid a repeat of that experience”, Bro. Obuah advised.
The Sole Administrator further called on residents to see themselves as partners in the crusade for a clean and healthy Rivers State, urging them to play pivotal a role by ensuring the implementation of the government’s policy to return Port Harcourt, the State Capital and its environs to its Garden City status.
He appealed to them to make it a routine exercise to properly bag their wastes and dump same at approved government receptacles only, and to also observe the RIWAMA approved dumping hours of 6 p.m. to 12 midnight.
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