Environment experts in the Niger Delta region have asked the governments to provide baseline data for indoor air quality in the region.
They made the call in Port Harcourt, shortly after a roundtable discussion on the theme: ‘Indoor Air Pollution, Workers’ Health and Productivity in the Niger Delta region,’ organized by Selemati Foundation in collaboration with the Rivers State University (RSU) Advancement and Linkage Centre.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after the programme, a professor at Institute of Pollution Studies, RSU, Tubonimi Ideriah stated that air pollution has no environmental or geographical boundaries and it is mostly a consequence of human activities. He noted that until people stop excessive use of contaminants and pollutants indoor air pollution will not reduce.
Ideriah particularly pointed out that the absence of this baseline data was responsible for the inability of experts to easily access and solve the problems of indoor air pollution, adding that access to accurate data and information would enable experts to create the necessary awareness on best practices needed to educate and sensitise the public to reduce indoor air pollution.
The professor maintained that most developed countries have standard permissive limits as a guide, while regretting that researchers in Nigeria have to rely on adopted standard permissive limits from other developed countries in order to ascertain Nigeria’s standard limits which ordinarily ought not to be so.
He urged employers to design or redesign the office environment such that each work area has properly operating supply and exhaust vents, while proactive approach be taken to address Indoor Air Quality concerns as failure to respond can lead to more serious adverse health issues.
Also speaking, an Environmental Health Expert Consultant, Dr Kanu Chukwunenye stated that residents should guide against the sources of indoor air pollution such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), formaldehydes, pesticides, lead, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur-dioxide (Kerosine heaters), the use of charcoal among others.
Chukwunenye cautioned residents to desist from the habit of keeping generators close to residential areas, noting that this negative practice has contributed majorly to the rising death toll in the country.
He attributed the much use of Generators to lack of electricity supply in the country and blamed electricity distribution companies across the Niger Delta region for sabotaging the efforts of governments in ensuring steady power supply in Nigeria.
On her part, the programme coordinator, Selemati Foundation, Rita Kigbara stated that lots of research works needed to be done on contaminants and pollutants as researchers lacks the needed fund to proceed in their research works.
Kigbara called on the Niger Delta governments to support research works in order for them to do their job effectively, regretting that there was a big disconnect between researchers and governments in the region which is responsible to the problems researchers faced in this region.
“One of the challenges faced by researchers is funding and that is why we have little coming from that sector. Also there is a disconnect between what researchers have done in terms of reports and recommendations and what the governments decide to do with them,” Kigbara added.
We’re Hopeful Of Passage Of Water Resources Bill -Minister
The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, has expressed hope over the passage of the National Water Resources Bill before the National Assembly.
Adamu expressed the optimism while answering questions on the sidelines of a two-day training for Water Resources Correspondents, Editors, and News Analysts in the Nigerian Water Sector’ with theme, ‘Reporting Water in its Perspective’.
The Tide source reports that the training is to build capacity of reporters on water resources sector by having deep knowledge of terminologies and issues in the water sector.
The Tide also recalls that the Bill, which was introduced in the 8th Assembly, caused outrage as some Nigerians interpreted the law as a power grab by the federal Government.
“It is part of our roadmap as far as I am concerned. We will continue to engage with the National Assembly, now that they have come back from recess, we hope to engage.
“At the same time, we are talking to all other antagonists to allay the fears to accommodate whatever apprehension. We are very confident that we’ll get that bill passed,” the minister said.
He further stated that it was wrong for a section of Nigerians to completely criticize and condemn the whole Bill instead of pointing out areas that needs to be reconsidered.
“It doesn’t make sense if you have problem with the Bill; identify the key issue or problem if there is need for amendment instead to completely condemn just because of one or two items you are not satisfied with.
“In the National Assembly, you have public hearing, and we will still go back,” the minister said.
Community Residents Flay Dumping Of Sachets, Bottles In Drainages
Some residents of Eneka Community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State have condemned the indiscriminate dumping of water sachets and bottles in drainages and along the road in the community.
Speaking in an interview with The Tide in the community, they said the situation is not only an eyesore but responsible for incessant flooding being witnessed in the community.
Mr Chibuike Adim, indigene of Rumuoji Eneka condemned the practice, adding that it is this practice that blocked the gutters and caused flashed flooding in some areas in the community.
Adim called on the state government to save the community from the practice by constituting the tax force to check this habit.
He also said those who engaged in this practice are not only uneducated but also foolish, stressing that such people must be dealt with according to the law.
Also speaking, Miss Patience Odum also condemned the practice but added that there is no designated refuse dump site in the community.
Odum also urged for the provision of refuse receptacle in the area while the Rivers State Waste Management agency (RIWAMA) should also monitor the activities of the people.
Also speaking, Miss Alice Nsikak, a student of Rivers State University said the practice has become a big problem to the community as the entire drainages are blocked.
She stressed the need for sensitisation of the residence against the practice.
Nsikak also called on government to improve the method of refuse collection by providing waste bin to homes on the streets.
According to her, “people could be asked to pay little amount of money every month”, adding that the proposal will check the menace as well as check flash flooding in the community.
Also speaking with The Tide, Mr Ndubuise Ogom confirmed that dumping of plastic materials, refuge and pure water sachets in the drains is a very common practice in Eneka and also felt very bad about this practice.
This practice, added, must be stopped by government by promulgating laws to punish offenders. This if done, will prevent people taking part in such practice. He suggested, a fine of N1000 be slammad on those dumping refuge and plastic containers in the gutter.
By: Oribim Nyanaa Ibama, Elendu Obochi Esther & Inimgba Favour Victor
UNESCO Laments Impending Collapse Of Biodiversity …Says Human Survival At Risk
The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has raised alarm at the unprecedented speed which biodiversity is collapsing globally.
The Director-General of UNESCO Ms Audrey Azoulay, expressed this concern at the UNESCO 33rd session of the the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB-ICC) Programme in Abuja.
Biodiversity refers to the variety of life on earth at all its levels, from genes to ecosystems, and can encompass the evolutionary, ecological, and cultural processes that sustain
The director-general said that with the impending collapse, not only was human survival at risk, but also the beauty and the diversity of the world.
She said that the collapse was from the treetops to the ocean depths and from vertebrates to invertebrates, adding that no species was spared.
“This is the spirit driving UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme. It is what makes it so pioneering and so valuable.
“We all have to stand on the earth itself and go with her at her pace. With this impending collapse, not only is human survival at risk, but also the beauty, the diversity of the world.
“But this collapse is not inevitable: there is still time to make peace with the planet,” she said.
According to her, there is the conviction that we can re-forge our relationship with nature, that we can reconcile development and environmental protection.
“We must harness the power of education to rebuild our relationship with nature. UNESCO is fully mobilised to ensure that the environment becomes a key curriculum component by 2025.
“This is in line with the commitment made by the 80th governments we gathered at the Berlin conference last May.
UNESCO, a custodian of knowledge and know-how concerning biodiversity, has been developing concrete solutions to environmental challenges for over 50 years through the MAB programme and its network of protected sites, covering nearly six per cent of the planet.
With 714 biosphere reserves in 129 countries, including transboundary sites, UNESCO seeks to reconcile humans and nature and demonstrate that it is possible to use biodiversity sustainably while fostering its conservation.
The Minister of State for Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor, said that the world was facing planetary crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.
According to her, this global loss of biodiversity is threatening the security of the world’s food supplies and the livelihoods of millions of people including indigenous people and local communities, especially in the African region.
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