Group holds workshop on cleaning Niger Delta oil spills with Kenaf

Dr. Balogun, UI don, bags U.S. award and grant for research on Kenaf
Dr. Balogun, UI don, bags U.S. award and grant for research on Kenaf

A group of experts, United States Department of State’s Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund Project, is to hold a two-day stakeholders’ workshop on ways of cleaning Niger Delta oil spills with Kenaf.

In a statement by the Team Leader, Morufat Balogun and Moji Edema, chairperson, Publicity committee, said the workshop would hold on Nov. 28 and 29, at the International Students’ Centre, University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The workshop, with theme “Clean the Spills: Going Green in the Niger Delta”, will witness practical ways of using kenaf, a local plant, to clean oil spills.

Already, over 100 stakeholders have signified intention to attend the workshop.

Ms. Edema said Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State would be the chief host of the workshop while the Vice Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, Prof Joseph Ajienka, would be the host.

She added that Christian Oboh, Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), is expected to be the chairman of the occasion.

She said that other stakeholders in the oil communities as well as the affected rural communities in the Niger Delta are also slated for the workshop.

Mrs. Balogun, the team leader, said the workshop was in partnership with the University of Ibadan, Institute of Agriculture Research and Training (IAR&T) and National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA).

She said the mission of the team  was “to be foremost in community integration and use of local plants for oil spill clean-up in Nigeria’s Niger Delta by developing sustainable strategies that are prompt and acceptable to stakeholders with no threat to the environment”.

Mrs Balogun said the Kenaf Clean-up team comprises of 40 members, 16 of whom are United States alumni and 24 volunteers, exceptionally skilled and diverse in their chosen professions and spread across Nigerian Universities, agencies, private sector and research institutes.

She said the workshop would also demonstrate the use of kenaf in cleaning oil spills as well as brainstorm on how to develop community integrated and acceptable strategy.

About 1.89 million barrels of petroleum were spilled in the Niger Delta between 1976 and 1996 out of a total of 2.4 million barrels spilled in 4,835 incidents (approximately 220,000 cubic meters).

The largest spill, Bonga spill, whose area covered more than 923 square kilometers, and no lesser than 40,000 barrels of crude, was spilled into the Atlantic Ocean in 2011.

The group believes that using kenaf local plant in cleaning up exercises has an advantage of being environment friendly and could be integrated into farming systems.



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