Nigeria to benefit from $47m UNESCO water study

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By Seun Akioye, for The Nation 

Nigeria is among 16 countries to benefit from a ground breaking research on Emerging Pollutants in Wastewater Reuse. The project is a collaboration between the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

The project titled: “Characterisation of pharmaceutical pollution in the aquatic environment of Nigeria and their potential ecotoxicological effects”, is being implemented by Lagos State University and involves a scientific study into pollution of the Lagos Lagoon. The project began in July 2015 and it is expected to end in the first quarter of 2016.

According to Claire Lynga, a research advisor at SIDA, the project is estimated to cost about $47 million over four years. She said the issue of wastewater reuse is becoming a popular phenomenon globally and thus important that major research be carried out on the problems of pollution.

Programme Specialist , International Hydrological Programme at UNESCO, Sarantuyaa Zandaryaa said the ground breaking project aims to support UNESCO member states to strengthen their scientific research and technical capacities to manage human health and environmental risks caused by new and emerging pollutants in developing countries.

Zandaryaa, who spoke on the sidelines of the World Water Week in Stockholm said new and emerging water pollutants include broad range of substances, including pharmaceuticals, personal care products, pesticides, domestic and industrial chemicals.

She said the Lagos Lagoon was identified as a major source of livelihood for thousands of fishermen and pollution of the lagoon would have a negative impact on thousands of people who depended on it.

Zandaryaa said at the conclusion of the project, UNESCO would pressure policy makers to address the problems that have been identified. “ What we intend to do is that as soon as we have scientific evidence about the pollution in the Lagos Lagoon, we will put pressure on police makers on what is needed to be done to reverse the trend,” she said.

Source: The Nation 

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