A renowned Scholar of Environmental Management and Toxicology, Professor Toyin Arowolo has called on the Federal Government to ban the use of plastic bags in the country, in order to improve public health and ensure safe environment.
Professor Arowolo made the call while delivering the 55th Inaugural Lecture of Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) entitled: Environmental Degradation: Mortgaging Our Future for Today’s Gain, at the institution’s Ceremonial Building, Alabata Road, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Arowolo, a Professor of Analytical and Environmental Chemistry had noted with dismay that many of the man-made threats to our environment were fuelled by ignorance and non-challant attitude of the populace.
He lamented that stakeholders have not educated Nigerians enough to the point of convincing them to turn away from bad environmental management practices such as illegal felling of trees, indiscriminate lighting of fire and poor refuse disposal habits, among others.
He therefore called on government, to as a matter of urgency consider banning the use of plastic bags in the country, in order to drastically improve solid and liquid waste management, especially municipal waste in the country.
Arowolo reinforced his call for the banning of the use of plastic bags in the country, disclosing that over 40 countries in the world have banned, partly banned or taxed single use plastic bags.
According to him, the countries include China, France, Rwanda, Kenya and Italy, urging the Federal Government to take a cue from the countries by following suit with the banning of the use of plastic bags.
Besides, Arowolo also charged the federal and state governments to ensure adequate funding for the management and protection of the environment, as well as judicious application of the funds allocated and secured from donor agencies.
He canvassed the need for federal and state governments to ensure that the country’s infrastructure meets the modern- day needs and beyond, in respect of uninterrupted power supply, potable water for all and effective railway system, among other recommendations.
Professor Arowolo also called on religious leaders to set aside a day to sensitize faithfuls on the need to ensure a clean and safe environment.
On his contributions to knowledge, Arowolo who has 34 years experience in the academia informed that the main focus of his research had been in the application of Analytical Chemistry in Environmental Management and Toxicology.
The former Dean of College of Environmental Resources Management (COLERM) further said: “I have studied the levels, forms, mobility and fate of essential trace elements, potentially toxic elements and rare earth elements in soils, sediments, air, water, plants, food and biological samples.”
Professor Arowolo, a former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) expressed gratitude to God and stakeholders for the privilege of delivering the inaugural lecture, recalling that he joined the university as a pioneer staff when it was founded and known as Federal University of Technology, Abeokuta (FUTAB) on 1st December, 1983 as an Assistant Lecturer (Analytical Chemistry).
He thanked God that he survived all the transformations from FUTAB to ULAB (University of Lagos, Abeokuta Campus) to COSTAB (College of Science and Technology, University of Lagos, Abeokuta Campus) ditto UNAAB to the present day FUNAAB.
In his Remarks, the Vice-Chancellor and Chairman of the Lecture, Professor Kolawole Salako described Professor Arowolo as a devoted Environmentalist who practices the dictate of his calling.