Nigeria gets $5m aid to study contaminated soilsNigeria
A regional initiative to address soils contaminated from the use of transformers, stabilisers and other equipment is on the way. Already, however, the Federal Government has commenced a study of soil sites contaminated by equipment used by the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, choosing Lagos as its pilot scheme.
The scheme was initiated with $5 million funding from Global Environmental Funding channelled through the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which will provide the technical expertise in Nigeria and Ghana.
PCBs are Polychlorinated biphenyls, a class of industrial chemicals that are persistent in the contamination of environment. Exposure to contaminated food from PCB showed that children and adult could be endangered to liver problem, binary tract cancers.
In children particularly, learning disorders can arise, along with developmental disabilities and lower birth weights as well as skin discolouration, abnormal fingernails swollen gums with easily chipped teeth among others.
The Minister of Environment, Mr. John Odey said last week while receiving the United Nations Industrial Development Organizations technical team, Goesteam Company Japan in his office, that the sub-regional project, which includes Ghana, will be concluded in another two to three years.
According to him, chemicals used by PHCN, particularly transformers and other equipment, leak chemicals into the soil over time and contaminate the soil, underground water that could cause serious health hazards for the people.
He said: “What we are doing in the sub-region is to collaborate and see how to remediate the soil, which can pollute the underground water and the soil that can lead health problems.”
He disclosed that a baseline study had been conducted in most industrial areas of Lagos, but a sample site would be picked for the pilot scheme before taking it to other parts of Nigeria.
Director of Pollution Control in the ministry, Dr. Oludayo Dada explained that Lagos was chosen in the southern part of the country because of the high concentration of transformers in Ijora area of the state.
He explained that transformer oil contains PCB, which is detrimental to human health.
“Ijora has the largest concentration of transformers in the southern part of the country.
We want to see how the equipment will work in the area; once we are successful in that place we will move to other sites in the country,” he said.
The UNIDO Representative in Nigeria Regional Office, Mr. Masayoshi Matsushita hinted that the Global Environmental Fund is supporting the project with a $5 million grant in Nigeria and Ghana for a period of two years.
He said: “We are trying to eradicate this problem by introducing the plant developed by Toshiba in Japan. PCB is a toxic waste that can cause cancer in children in people in general.
The study, however, will show to what extent the PCB has contaminated the soil.
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