Prevention, not clean up, is best for ground water contamination – Don

The need to prevent ground water contamination, a veritable natural resource to human existence and survival, should be given priority over clean up after pollution and contamination.

This position was canvassed by a don at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, FUTA Yinusa Asiwaji-Bello of the Department of Applied Geology while delivering the institution’s 79th Inaugural Lecture titled “Water-Rock Association: A bond of Mutual Wholesomeness under stress by man”.

He said in spite of the ongoing attempt to clean up Ogoniland by the Federal Government, the devastation to the quality of the environment and groundwater will take two generations to be overturned.

“No matter the technology applied, our generation and the one immediately behind us would not see a clean ground water in Ogoniland,” Mr. Asiwaju-Bello declared.

Mr. Asiwaju-Bello, a product of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife and Leeds University, United Kingdom, said “it is not just enough for man to attempt to clean up groundwater when it is already polluted, rather man should work hard to ensure prevention of contamination of this vulnerable resource.”

He said there is a need to treasure groundwater, a natural potable freshwater bestowed on man for consumption.

He said to prevent contamination of groundwater of the type ravaging Ogoniland and to some lesser extent in other parts of the country, human activities in influencing the environment through mine sites, spillage, septic systems, small disposal pits, storage ponds, underground storage tanks, and fertilizers should be closely monitored and controlled. He also cited land application of sludge and wastewater, pesticides and herbicides, wells, animal lots, junk yards and solid refuse disposal sites, cemeteries and animal burials, and atmospheric pollutants as human activities that put a lot of pressure on groundwater and contaminates it most of the times.

To prevent water contamination, the don recommended that all communities should organise water collection with adequately maintained drains on all roads. He also said every household should provide foul drain to link street drain for flow of waste waters from bathrooms and kitchens to the surface channel for open air evaporation.

Speaking further, Professor Asiwaju-Bello recommended proper construction and maintenance of wastewater ponds, installation of septic systems by experts, minimal usage of chemical agents when close to water table during mining, regular servicing of motor vehicles and prompt replacement of worn out parts and adequate provision of mass rail transport system, avoidance of shallow water table areas as burial sites, increase infiltration in coastal areas to maintain high water table that would minimize seawater encroachment and above all public education and enlightenment on prevention of ground water contamination.

In his address, Chairman of the occasion and Vice Chancellor, Adebiyi Daramola, represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic, Olatunde Arayela, commended the excellent delivery by the lecturer, referring to him as an excellent geologist who has added value to academic knowledge at FUTA and beyond. He also called on Nigerians to adhere to preventive measures in avoiding water contamination because water is life.

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