Group warns against dumping wastes in Usuman Dam in Abuja
A group, Stewards of the Environment for Sustainable Change Initiative (SESCI) has cautioned Abuja residents against dumping of harmful medical and plastic wastes in Usuman Dam, which is the only source of drinking water in the nation’s capital city.
It cautioned that with the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, related wastes like facemasks, hand gloves, used aprons from isolation centres, and plastics might end up in the dam and other water bodies.
The group raised these concerns in a new report, which was supported by Heinrich Boll Foundation. Signed by Adiza Ujo of SESCI and Dr. Ifenna Ilechukwu of Madonna University, Awka, the report warned that pharmaceuticals wastes and micro plastics are pollutants, which are not monitored, have potentials to cause adverse effects to human health and the ecosystem.
According to them, the research was conducted to determine the adverse effects of the unguarded release of plastics and medical wastes into the environment and subsequent transport of these to the major source of water in Federal Capital Territory.
“The presence of super bugs in Lower Usuman Dam cannot be eliminated by conventional water treatment methods because they have resistant to multiple drugs that could destroy them, difficult to treat and life threatening. The dam serves as a perfect freshwater system, and acts as a link for pollutants from these wastes from in-let rivers and streams from the city and peri-urban settlement. Water and sediment samples were collected and analysed, it showed Diclofenac and Ibuprofen were found 90 percent in them.”
Also speaking, Dr. Victoria Anyakara of FCT water board said though the current technology used in treating water drawn from the dam proves to be optimal and certified safe, they observed the new improved standards must be pursued at all time through informed research.
Anyakara also argued that government environmental agencies should circulate a memo to its licensed private wastes disposal contractors to separate medical and plastic wastes during collection as well as dedicate trucks and tanks for each, to enhance service delivery.
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