By Tare Youdeowei & Chris Onuoha
Environmental experts have averred that improper waste disposal and management is causing devastating effects on the climate, noting that environmental pollution and its challenges pose a threat in the economic development in Nigeria.
The experts made this known during the annual International Conference and Conferment of ‘Fellows’ Award’ by the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Pollution Mitigation (SETPOM) held at University of Lagos, with theme Environmental Management and Economic Crises – Challenges, Opportunity and Innovation.
According to Prof Olubunmi Odubanjo of Zoology Department, UNILAG; “No nation can actually be free from environmental hazard just that measures have to be taken to be sure that there’s safety to life and property. Everybody should be a stakeholder in this affair but government should initiate policies and ensure implementation of these policies.”
Prof Adebayo Otitoloju, founder, Society for Environmental, Toxicology and Pollution Mitigation (SETPOM) said: “This year’s conference is on environmental management and crisis. We are looking at the challenges posed by environmental pollution in the country and at the same time, exploring opportunities and solutions.
The point is that at any given time, there will always be challenges coming from improper waste disposal by people which, to an extent, cause environmental degradation. As we are having economic challenges with the entire nation dependent on commodity prizes, this kind of challenges will always bring up a lot of economic and environmental hardship.
“As environmental stakeholders, we use this opportunity to contribute our own quota, and see how we can involve strategies and innovation to help in the nation’s economic recovery. In this workshop we will explore what constitutes waste materials and what people can turn such into, in terms of becoming materials for our industry. And also, engage participants and student on how to manage waste materials.
This is a platform that brings everybody together for one common goal.”
Among the recipients of this year’s SETPOM Fellow Award are; Prof Olubukola Oyewole, former Commissioner of Environment and Sanitation, Osun State, and current Dean Faculty of Science, Adeleke University, Ede, Osun State. Dr. William Esther Samuel, Zonal Chairperson, Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria (ISPON). Others are Mr. Attahiru Bala Usman, Managing Director Allot Nigeria Limited, Dr. Chukwuma Igelenya, General Manager (Operations Support) Seplat Petroleum, Muyideen Olatunji, CEO Aleeph Environmental Services, Prof. Mike Adebamowo, Prof. Victor Ajibola, Prof. Ikechukwu Onwurah and Mr. Bamidele Mafimidiwo.
The two day conference which attracted stakeholders from the academia, students and the general public had activities that included paper presentations, film show, presentation of plaque to conferred SETPOM fellows, prize award to secondary school students ‘GreenEssay’ and ‘GreenPhoto’ competition winners and workshops on business opportunity in waste and others.