UNEP, Japan plan landfills mercury emission survey in Nigeria by 2020
To mitigate air pollution, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Japanese-based environmental consultants are to embark on a mercury survey of landfill facilities in Nigeria by the year 2020.
Idea Consultants of Japan is collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Environment, the Pan African Vision for the Environment and the state’s environmental control agencies in the project.
Large part of the anthropogenic mercury is emitted into the atmosphere, staying and dispersing on a global scale, and affecting global ecosystems. Thus, mercury pollution is an issue to be addressed throughout the world.
On the other hand, people who are engaged in local activities are concerned about the exposure to high concentrations of mercury vapour by the inhalation of volatized elemental mercury.
In the incineration of waste, there are both concerns about the contribution to the global mercury emission and health of the workers and neighbors who are exposed to mercury.
Waste management system differs between countries and often mercury-added products such as used fluorescent lamps and electrical appliances are sent to landfill sites where open burning are happening. However, still very few data are available to understand the situation on the ground.
In their preliminary survey, the consultant team from Japan held meetings with government agencies including the Lagos State Environmental Protection (LASEPA), Lagos State Ministry of the Environment, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LAWMA), Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) and Federal Ministry of Environment in Lagos and Abuja and also visited waste landfill sites.
The president, Pan African Vision for the Environment (PAVE), Mr. Anthony Akpan, who facilitated the visit, said the main objectives to build and advance the capacity of mercury survey and obtain the basic information of the mercury emission from waste landfill facilities in the two Nigerian cities.
The Ministry of Environment, Japan in collaboration with UNEP-IETC will undertake a series of activities as part this survey.
These components include capacity assessment and actual survey on mercury waste management.
The onsite demonstration to the laboratories will make available technical skills to the survey and monitor different media. The analysis will be done through the mercury concentration collected in samples to get an overview of its risks to workers and surrounding residents as a result of open waste burning from the landfills.
According to Mr. Akpan the survey also aims to acquire knowledge about the release of mercury into the environment near the waste landfill facility.
“The capacity assessment involves the expert visit to the laboratories of the government or another research institute to discuss the current status and issues of mercury monitoring with the staff.”
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