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Experts Charge Govt to Address Environmental Pollution

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                … express fears over possible epidemic
By PEARL NGWAMA
Concerned with the alarming situation of marine pollution across various cities in Nigeria, Environmental and Health experts have called on the federal government to address this surge to avoid a possible epidemic.
This call was made at a recent conference organised by the Chartered Institute of Environmental and Public Health Management of Nigeria (CIEPHMN) in collaboration with Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria (MARAN) at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.
With emphasis on the environmental degradation and water pollution especially in the urban cities of the country, the experts envisage a possible outbreak of epidemic hence, calling on the xxxxxxxx
Speaking at the event themed: “Marine Pollution Control and the Challenges of Seaport Environmental Health Management in the 21st Century,” Prof. Bamidele Badejo of the Department of Geography, Faculty of Social Sciences, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State, stressed the need for the government to come up with a clear plan that would address marine pollution.
Presenting the lead paper at the Conference, Badejo posited that government and policy makers should go for people-centric plan in its fight to address the menace.
To achieve this, he urged the government to ensure it carries along the affected communities and other stakeholders while exploring solutions to the problem.
He also stressed that all tiers of government should work towards having a comprehensive policy on marine environment and make financial provisions for research in this regard
“The Nigerian maritime sector is in a dire need of an inventory and data on environmental issues and the effects. If we don’t have crucial details of the marine environment, how do we ascertain if we are making progress in the bid to have a cleaner and more healthy port environment and how do we measure the progress,” Badejo said.
Earlier, the chairman of the occasion, Prince Olayiwola Shittu, described environmental degradation as a global problem, but he lamented that in the nation’s maritime industry environmental pollution has suffered paltry attention from policy makers and other stakeholders.
Shittu, who was represented by Mr. Pius Ujubonu, expressed delight that the CIEPHMN and MARAN collaboration offers hope that critical stakeholders in Nigeria are working to address environmental degradation and pollution in the nation.
He observed that upstream and midstream pollution eventually comes downstream and affects Nigerians in coastal areas as well as those in hinterlands.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Lagos State, Mr. Tunji Bello, stated that public engagement and enlightenment on marine pollution is necessary to prevent consequent health implications.
Bello, who was represented by Mrs. Bolanle Kasumu, also observed that most Nigerian companies do not treat their waste to attain minimum consequence on the environment before discharging it into the public drainage system.
“Irrespective of social status, too many people are unconcerned about the effects of their activities on the environment. Everyone must have passion for the marine environment in order to make the world a better place,” she said.
In his opening remarks, the President of MARAN, Mr. Anya Njoku, lamented that heavy industrial activities at Nigerian seaports have led to huge turnout of waste and harmful substances at terminals, adding that hazards of being exposed to these forms of chemical and air pollution are prime factors for serious diseases.
The high point of the occasion was the induction of the new chartered members into the institute who were also presented with certificates and plaques by its Director General/ Chief Executive, Prince (Dr.) George Ayoade.

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