Nigeria is estimated to have nearly 1,500 tons–around 1.4 million kilos–of oils and equipment contaminated with polychlorinated byphenyl (PCB), an organic chemical used in insulation.
Federal government insists it stands by the Stockholm Convention to eliminate by 2025 the use of any equipment containing polychlorinated byphenyl, said environment minister Hadiza Mailafia.
It is starting a project under an interministerial committee to manage the chemicals and ensure “equipment contaminated with PCBs will be subjected to environmentally sound waste management not later than 2028,” she said Thursday.
The project is supported by an $18.5million purse–$12.2m from federal government and $6.3m from the World Bank.
The committee is to push Nigeria’s capacity to manage persistent organic pollutants, including PCBs, in line with the Stockholm Convention.
It will also push a national plan to implement the convention, which Nigeria drew up in 2009, as well as a national strategy for environmental protection, said Mailafia,
who inaugurated the committee.
She was represented by Dr Uju Okoye, a director in the ministry.
PCBs are a class of synthetic organic compounds that are fire resistant and non volatile, making them adequate as insulators in electrical supply.
The national energy carrier, Power Holding Company of Nigeria, is adjudged the largest consumer of substances and equipment containing PCBs.
The chemicals are found in the power company’s transformers, ballasts and capacitors.
But production of PCBs came under a global ban in the early 1980s because of concerns about their toxicity and potential damage to human and health and environment.
Exposure to PCBs may cause damage to the immune system, liver, skin and reproductive system, said Stella Mojekwu, coordinator of Nigeria’s PCB management project at the federal environment ministry.
Exposure could also damage the gastrointestinal tract, thyroid gland, and cause cancer.
Tons of contamination
The Stockholm Convention requires countries to assess the current level of contamination. An inventory of facilities for generating, transmitting and distributing electric power estimated the amount of PCB-contaminated waste at 3,400 tons.
The inventory by an international trust fund for POPs (persistent organic pollutants) assessed only 10% of potentially contaminated electrical equipment across 10 states.
A second assessment in 2009 by the Canadian Trust fund on POP found 421 tons of oils and 1,061 tons of equipment contaminated by PCB.
Source Article from http://allafrica.com/stories/201208250505.html
Nigeria: Nation Battles 1.4 Million Kilos Contaminated Waste
AllAfrica News: Water and Sanitation
All Africa, All the Time.