Soil Scientists Task FG to Accelerate Ogoni Clean-up

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…Urges vandals to consider the environment

From: Babatunde Azeez, Abuja

Soil Science Society of Nigeria has called on the Federal Government to hasten the on-going Ogoni land remediation activities in the Niger Delta.

President of the Soil Science Society of Nigeria, Prof. Bashiru Raji made this call at the weekend in Abuja.  The 2018 celebration is themed “Be a solution to soil pollution”.

In a press statement issued in commemoration of the 2018 World soil day, Prof. Raji appealed to the pipe line vandals to consider the effect of their actions on the environment, especially the soil which is of importance to human survival.

He expressed need for the government to establish a soil remediation fund of which 30 per cent of the Ecological Fund will be committed.

The soil expert said gas flaring in the over 140 locations should be stopped by 2019 to mitigate the current issues of climate change and flooding ravaging many communities.

According to him: “The federal government should accelerate the clean-up efforts in the Niger Delta starting from the Ogoniland. We wish to also urge the vandals to consider the environment in their activities.

“The Government should also consider establishing a SOIL REMEDIATION FUND to which at least 30% of the Ecological Funds should be allocated.”

He urged regulatory and monitoring agencies like FEPA, NOSDRA and NESREA to upscale there activities, reach potential pollution sites, while restating the society’s commitment to partnering with all relevant agencies to  put in place standards and remediation plans.

However, he explained that soil pollution, is a hidden danger underneath the feet stressing that it is real and poses greater threat to food security, human health and the environment.

“The most visible cases of soil pollution in Nigeria are the intractable pollution from the oil and gas in the Niger Delta region while the case of Lead (Pb) poisoning arising from the artisanal gold mining in Zamfara State in 2010 where over 700 children dead is still fresh in our mind.”

“The Soil Science Society of Nigeria is willing to partner with these agencies to put in place standards and remediation plans.

“The Society is ready to partner with NGOs and CBOs to create awareness among the public on the effect of unsustainable use of plastic, domestic waste etc as they affect the capacity of the soils to render valuable ecosystem services like food security, groundwater purification,

“There are several undocumented and under reported cases from the untreated effluents from the potential 3,000 industrial locations in Nigeria (source: Federal Ministry of Industry) and biomedical waste disposal from the over 23,640 private and public hospital and clinics (source: Federal Ministry of Health) posing great danger from their radioactive, infectious and cancerous contamination of our soils and water resources.

“Moreover, it is important to note that soil pollution affects food security by impairing plant metabolism, thereby reducing crop yields and quality, making crop unsafe for consumption by animals and humans, as well as affecting the quality of surface and underground water with adverse consequences on human health.

“Other possible causes of soil pollution include agricultural activities, artisanal mining activities, inappropriate domestic waste disposal and continual use of plastic and Nylon.”

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