Category Archives: Pollution

Nigeria’s waste disposal challenges: The case of Lagos.

The world is drowning in ever-growing mounds of garbage by Kevin Sieff, Washington Post, Nov. 21, 2017

Below are the highlights of the Washington Post article on “The world is drowning in ever-growing mounds of garbage” with focus on Lagos Nigeria by DEPO ADENLE.

  • Lagos population was 7 million in 1992 and has tripled.
  • Waste disposal site location was based on remoteness  from population. This is the practice in Nigeria.
  • The first waste disposal site discussed in this article is Olusosun which is directly off the main highway near the overhead bridge exit to Ikorodu, and from which a whiff of burning trash sometimes blows across the city’s standing traffic jams. This blogger experienced the usual burning sensation in this area as you enter Lagos in those days.
  • In 2017, Lagos had two outbreaks of Lassa fever, a sometimes deadly virus, spread by rodent urine or feces that has been linked to poor sanitation. The Lassa fever outbreak in Lagos is more as result of people living in shacks built around this garbage disposal site. The outbreaks of Lassa fever in other parts of Nigeria were in areas that are remote from waste disposal sites but characterized by high population density and very poor sanitation and hygiene.
  • Landfill/waste disposal sites are usually not chosen on the basis of Environmental Impact Assessment. The story of Bariga in the Washington Post article being discussed gives an insight into how waste disposal sites are chosen – not on the basis of planning but convenience. The case of Bariga is also discussed.
  • With the city’s population surging, some of the city’s coastal slums had run out of usable land and started filling in swampy areas with rubbish. Residents of one community, Bariga, agreed a few years ago to allow garbage collectors to use their neighborhood as a dumpsite. They took the trash and extended their property into the bay, covering it with sawdust and building homes on top. Walking on Bariga’s reclaimed land feels like balancing on a trampoline, the ground sinking slightly beneath your feet with each step”.
  • While one cannot fault the author of this article it is doubtful if any Nigerian will build houses on refuse dumps. They may build shacks which are made up of wooden poles and plastic sheets or any other material that can shield them from the environment.
  • A documentary produced by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in Nigeria highlights how high rentals and poverty in Lagos, one of the fastest growing cities on the continent, have driven thousands of residents to build shacks at “Dustbin Estate,” a slum in Awodiora, Ajeromi Ifelodun, to the west of Lagos. (Lagos slum residents live among garbage at “Dustbin Estate” – UrbanAfrica.Net, April 2013.  https://www.urbanafrica.net/news/lagos-slum-residents-live-among-garbage-dustbin-estate-0/).
  • The author of the article noted that Lagos has reacted to its waste challenges by treating it as opportunity and has built a local/international garbage economy—“Across the city, local entrepreneurs and international businesses have opened sorting and recycling plants that export plastics, metals and paper to China and India”.
  • But recently the government has come up with a new plan.
  • It has identified a new dump site in the city of Badagry, 40 miles from Olusosun. It would be a world away, hidden from the growing city, at least in the short term.
  • “It won’t be another eyesore,” promised Adejare, the environment min
  • One issue that was not addressed in the report is the probable impact of waste disposal in landfills that are not scientifically constructed on groundwater quality.

The link to the full article is –

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/the-world-is-drowning-in-ever-growing-mounds-of-garbage/2017/11/21/cf22e4bd-17a4-473c-89f8-873d48f968cd_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-high_lagos-globalwaste%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.622c9e808fbf

By DEPO ADENLE.

 

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Threats of underground water pollution imminent in Nigeria?

The title of the article below which was published in the Daily Trust of August 26, 2015 and written by Alex Abutu based on what Mr. Michael Ale, AWDROP National President told Daily Trust, sounds alarmist as its scope is very limited compared to its content.
Groundwater pollution in Nigeria cannot and should not be mainly ascribed to the activities of foreign borehole drilling companies. It is due to a number of causes – poor borehole design by incompetent drilling companies, point-source and non-point-source pollution, unregulated waste disposal practices, unscientific design and siting of sanitary landfills, improper decommissioning of non-productive or failed boreholes, unsupervised drilling activities of oil prospecting companies, etc. to mention A few. fairly detailed summary is contained in the table provided by Canter(1981) which lists 3 major sources of groundwater pollution – Waste disposal sources, Nondisposal sources and Depletion. Please click below for the  table on major sources of Groundwater Pollution.

Major Sources of Groundwater Pollution
Major Sources of Groundwater Pollution
The article focuses on the following:
• “large format equipment which is inimical to our environment”;
• Drilling of large number of boreholes;
• Poor design of boreholes that allow infiltration of overburden water into the aquifer through the screening of the overburden casing without appropriate grouting;
• Foreign drillers operating without license;
• Too many boreholes and well interference.
These are sweeping statements which are difficult to substantiate, for example, that using large equipment is unfavorable, detrimental or adverse to our environment in Nigeria. Furthermore, drilling many boreholes per day, if scientifically located and properly designed and supervised should not cause any problem with respect to well interference or pollution.
Currently, the National Water Law has not been enacted. However, in Part X of the draft National Water Resources Act of 2011, reference is made to the Code of the Regulation of Domestic Boreholes which was developed by the National Water Resources Institute (NWRI) and the Ministry. This Code’s section 4 is on Legal Consideration.
Section 4.1 is on Drilling Permit which states “No well shall be constructed unless the owner is in possession of a valid permit to do so … Permit shall be given by relevant Agencies designated by the Minister of Water Resources.” This is fine but has no legal backing until the Water Resources Act is enacted.
Section 4.2 of the Code is on Water Well Driller’s License: Section 4.2a states “A water well driller’s license shall be obtained from NWRI on application. Section 4.2b states “No person shall construct a well for the abstraction or monitoring of groundwater or for research if the person does not have a driller’s license granted in accordance with the provisions of this code. The requirements of the driller’s license shall be applicable to any person, company, corporation, or other entity engaged in the business or occupation that involves construction of water wells that may penetrate water-bearing strata (including constructing water wells, geothermal systems and environmental monitoring wells.”
Section 4.2.1.1.1 gives an exemption to the stipulation of the Code as stated above. As mentioned earlier, the National Water Resources Act is yet to be enacted, the Code is part of the Act, consequently the alarm raised by the article concerning foreign companies using unlicensed drillers cannot be resolved at this point in time.
Comments by DEPO ADENLE.
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Threats of underground water pollution imminent
By Alex Abutu , Daily Trust, Aug 26 2015

FemaleDriller
A lady driller supervising a borehole drilling recently.
Nigeria is facing an imminent danger of underground water pollution if the activities of foreigners drilling companies are left unchecked, the Association of Water Well Drilling Rig Owners and Practitioners has alerted.
The association said at the rate the foreign companies, mostly from Asia, are operating, the nation may run out of clean drinking water in the nearest future. “Asians have infiltrated our environment with large format equipment which is inimical to our environment.”
Mr. Michael Ale, AWDROP National President, told Daily Trust that: “An average Asian drilling company operating in the country drills close to three boreholes in a day and we have about 50 of such drilling companies scattered around Nigeria with each having at least four rigs. With this calculation, an average of 400 boreholes are drilled daily and this is enormous.”
“Another major issue is the fact that the underground water is gradually being polluted by the design of drilling embarked by the Asians as most of their designs allow infiltration of overburden water into the underground aquifer through the screening of the overburden casing without appropriate grouting. We are not talking of the cheap materials used during their installation. This is sad,” Ale added.
Investigation by Daily Trust in Abuja and environs showed that there is an upsurge in the number of foreigners in the borehole drilling business.
In Masaka, a suburb near Abuja, numerous signposts advertising the foreign drilling companies abound with some engaging in promos to woo customers.
Ale noted that most of the foreign drillers are not licensed to drill, wondering who allowed them to operate in Nigeria. “Our trained drillers and experts are jobless. So the environmental, social and economic importance is being maligned by these foreigners.”
According to him, many Nigerians who drill boreholes have adequate knowledge of the terrain but the foreigners do not. “Borehole needs to last for a lifetime but conduct a search on many boreholes drilled now, it is glaring that they are affecting one another because of the approach of the drillers, many of whom are quacks that have infiltrated the industry.”
“Some people have argued that the Asians made borehole affordable to most Nigerians but is it affordability or sustainability that we should be talking about? Yes their borehole can be affordable for 2-3 years but will pack up with time. It may be affordable but the client gets contaminated water because of the drill design,” he added.
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Threats of underground water pollution imminent
By Alex Abutu , Daily Trust, Aug 26 2015
A lady driller supervising a borehole drilling recently.
Nigeria is facing an imminent danger of underground water pollution if the activities of foreigners drilling companies are left unchecked, the Association of Water Well Drilling Rig Owners and Practitioners has alerted.
The association said at the rate the foreign companies, mostly from Asia, are operating, the nation may run out of clean drinking water in the nearest future. “Asians have infiltrated our environment with large format equipment which is inimical to our environment.”
Mr. Michael Ale, AWDROP National President, told Daily Trust that: “An average Asian drilling company operating in the country drills close to three boreholes in a day and we have about 50 of such drilling companies scattered around Nigeria with each having at least four rigs. With this calculation, an average of 400 boreholes are drilled daily and this is enormous.”
“Another major issue is the fact that the underground water is gradually being polluted by the design of drilling embarked by the Asians as most of their designs allow infiltration of overburden water into the underground aquifer through the screening of the overburden casing without appropriate grouting. We are not talking of the cheap materials used during their installation. This is sad,” Ale added.
Investigation by Daily Trust in Abuja and environs showed that there is an upsurge in the number of foreigners in the borehole drilling business.
In Masaka, a suburb near Abuja, numerous signposts advertising the foreign drilling companies abound with some engaging in promos to woo customers.
Ale noted that most of the foreign drillers are not licensed to drill, wondering who allowed them to operate in Nigeria. “Our trained drillers and experts are jobless. So the environmental, social and economic importance is being maligned by these foreigners.”
According to him, many Nigerians who drill boreholes have adequate knowledge of the terrain but the foreigners do not. “Borehole needs to last for a lifetime but conduct a search on many boreholes drilled now, it is glaring that they are affecting one another because of the approach of the drillers, many of whom are quacks that have infiltrated the industry.”
“Some people have argued that the Asians made borehole affordable to most Nigerians but is it affordability or sustainability that we should be talking about? Yes their borehole can be affordable for 2-3 years but will pack up with time. It may be affordable but the client gets contaminated water because of the drill design,” he added.

Banning “pure water”: An unkind gesture to the very poor in Nigeria

On December 17, 2013, the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reported that the Ministry of Environment had a Stakeholders Workshop on the phasing out of the use of non-biodegradable plastics in the country. According to the report the Workshop was to sensitize Nigerians about this phasing out programme and to develop action plan for the phasing out programme.

In the report below which was carried by the Vanguard a draft action plan was already adopted by these stakeholders. Either there was not enough publicity given to this workshop or the ‘stakeholders’ in the sector was poorly defined because as a practicing environmentalist, the news about this workshop was unknown to me. If one may ask ‘ who are these stakeholders who adopted the action plan and what is the content of this action plan?’ This blogger is interested in knowing whether the Water and Environmental Sanitation (WES) officers in each LGA were invited to this stakeholders workshop.

Probably the government intends merely to rely on stopping the plastic bags manufacturer from producing these bags. However, because of our corrupt nature the manufacturers of sachet  water and the market women and men can easily bring into the country the banned products manufactured in neighboring countries. This is why enforcement of the ban at the lowest administrative level is the way to go.

The success on phasing out light non-biodegradable plastics in China and South Africa, which the NAN’s report referred to below is due to the fact that there are institutions in place in these two countries to enforce the ban. If one may ask which institutions are to enforce this ban in Nigeria? Even if there are institutions in Nigeria for this purpose, it is common knowledge that any new regulation in the country is an avenue, for the people who are responsible for its enforcement, to make fraudulent money.

In August 2013 the Leadership Newspaper reported Sokoto Government’s humble plan to solve the problem posed by discarded polythene bags. The plan involves using unemployed youths in the collection of these bags, building  recycling plants and partnering with the Federal Government. The efforts of Sokoto State Government was commended by this blogger. (https://weircentreforafrica.com/2013/08/19/sokoto-state-to-commercialize-waste-disposal/  ). May be the Federal Government should borrow a leave from the Sokoto project.

Comments – DEPO ADENLE.

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FG to phase out water satchets, other plastics

 Vanguard, January 30, 2014 

Abuja—The Federal Ministry of Environment has developed a draft action plan for the phasing out of light weight non-biodegradable plastics in the country, a top official of the ministry, said, yesterday.

 The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Abuja, said that the draft action plan had already been adopted by stakeholders in the sector.

He recalled that the ministry, in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, UNIDO, had in December 2013, organised a workshop to sensitise Nigerians on the process.

“What we intend to do now is to follow the implementation of the action plan since the awareness has already started; the next step is to source funds from UNIDO to implement the plan. “Once we have funds, we will continue with other activities in the process of phasing out heavy non-biodegradable plastics.”

The official said it was not possible to completely phase out non-biodegradable plastics because of its importance in the society.

He cited the example of a plastic chair, which is a non-biodegradable component, to buttress his point.

He said that the ministry would start with the phasing out of light weight non-degradable plastics such as table water sachets and polythene bags.

“Those countries that have succeeded in phasing out the substance started with placing a ban on the light weight ones.

“Countries like China and South Africa have placed outright ban on light weight plastic bags while some other countries have placed tax levies on the manufacture, retailer and buyers of light weight bags.

“We are going to be gradual in the phasing out process as well, so that we will not cause havoc to the livelihood of people working in the industry.

“We will also use alternative sources that are economically feasible and environment-friendly to replace the non-degradable products,” the official said.

He further said that the ministry would start the process of phasing out with a pilot project whereby manufacturers would be required to introduce a substance called “addictive” that would reduce the non-biodegradable component in their products.

NAN reports that several countries have adopted measures to reduce the production and use of plastic materials by the imposition of taxes, fines, restriction or outright ban of plastic shopping bags.

The countries include South Africa, Taiwan, Kenya, Rwanda, Bangladesh, Mecedonia, China, Hong Kong, Denmark, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico and United Arab Emirates, among others.

 

Pollution: Lagos Shuts 2 Churches, 6 Companies

Comments by DEPO ADENLE

These comments are on the PM News report which is shown below.

The step being taken by Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency(LSEPA) has been long overdue. While congratulating LSEPA, it needs to be said that it will need to do more in the area of policing pollution.

I once visited a friend at Anthony Village in the mid-seventies and the hand dug well they were using was showing traces of human feces.The Agency needs to commence enforcing the National Policy on the location of boreholes or water wells with respect to minimum distance from a septic tank/soak-away.

Discharges into the lagoons also need to policed. 

Recently I watched a TV programme in which NNPC was discussing with some residents of an area near the Ikeja Air Port what it plans to do about the migration of aviation fuel into the boreholes in the area. It was mentioned in that TV programme that a geophysicist   was to be employed to map out the extent of the plume of this groundwater contaminant. I feel that the State should insist on an array of boreholes to continually monitor this pollution. The consequence of ingesting hydrocarbon compounds, which are carcinogens cannot be overemphasized.

Furthermore, LSEPA should start a programme of monitoring all petrol stations with respect to leakages from their underground storage tanks(USTs), because these are buried in unconsolidated coastal sands. These petrol stations are all over residential areas where people use shallow wells for their domestic activities. Delay is dangerous.

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Pollution: Lagos Shuts 2 Churches, 6 Companies

PM News, May 24, 2013.  
The Lagos State Government has shut down two churches and six companies over cases of environmental pollution in various parts of the state in southwest Nigeria.

Officials of the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency, LASEPA, shut the affected places after serving them abatement notices, which they failed to comply.

The enforcement was led by Mr. Kayode Bello, Director of Enforcement, LASEPA, with a back up from the police.

The churches and companies shut include Eureka Metals Limited and Primlaks Galvanising Industries located at Ladipo Oluwole, Ikeja; Christ Victoria Chapel at Iyana Ipaja; and Christ Chosen Church of God, Onipanu.

Others are Wingham Furniture, Abule-Egba; Tin Oil Limited, Muritala Mohammed Way, Yaba; Ikorodu Industrial Steel, Odogunyan, Ikorodu and a bakery in Mushin.

Christ Victoria Chapel and Christ Chosen Church of God were shut over noise pollution after they were warned to abate the nuisanceand they failed to do so.

Primlaks Galvanising Industries in Ikeja was shut for emitting particulate matter and black soot into the environment, thereby polluting the area as well as extreme noise pollution, while also discharging and releasing hot slurry/sludge waste from the furnace into the environment.

It was also observed that the company had poor spent oil management, leading to discharge into public drainage; poor ventilation and exposure of staff to heat and poor aesthetics of environment.

LASEPA General Manager, Engr. Rasheed Shabi, said the company’s action constituted health hazard to workers and contributed to the environmental degradation, thereby contravening the provisions of LASEPA Law of 2003, which attract appropriate fines and penalties.

The company was fined N5 million and given seven days to remedy the situation, but it failed to comply, which eventually resulted in its closure on Thursday.

Another company, Eureka Metals Limited committed the same offence as Primlaks. The company was ordered to install an abatement plant to adequately collect the metallic particulate and soot emitted into the environment; install noise dampers around machines/equipment and generators and adequate collection of spent oil to prevent its discharge into the environment. The company failed to carry out the order, which led to its closure.

According to Shabi, after warning the affected companies, “their proprietors went about sending people to us. There is nobody above the law. Before we reopen them, they must put our recommendations in place.”

He stated that government would not in any way compromise the laid down standard and laws of the state governing pollution of the environment.