Don wants FG to increase surveillance on radioactive waste
Prof. Gregory Avwiri on Tuesday called on the Federal Government to increase surveillance on radioactive waste, to protect the lives of Nigerians and the environment.
Avwiri, a dean of the Graduate School of Natural, Applied and Medical Sciences, University of Port Harcourt, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
He described radioactive waste as waste materials generated from the application of nuclear technology in energy, medicine, agriculture and industry as well as tn the oil and gas sector.
According to him, radioactive waste is hazardous to health and to the environment.
The don said that increased surveillance on radioactive waste would help check illegal dumping of such materials in the country.
“Remember what happened in the Koko dump; if there was enough surveillance, there was no way the dump would have gotten to Koko from the port.
“The Federal Government is trying to stop electronic waste coming into the country, but there is the need to also educate Nigerians not to buy second-hand electronics.’’
NAN recalls that more than 3,500 tonnes of toxic waste was dumped at Koko in Delta, which had untold negative impact on the people of the area, including sudden deaths in 1988.
The professor, however, urged the government to equip the Nigeria Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NNRA) and other related agencies to effectively carry out monitoring exercise in the country.
According to him, if NNRA have enough staff, they can do more enforcement and create awareness about the dangers of radioactive waste.
Avwiri, however, observed that the Nigerian environment environment was safe in terms of radiation, adding that the country had not reached the level to be afraid of radiation.
Conversely, he also noted that the country lacked the capacity to handle high radioactive waste, but could manage low radioactive waste, which he said, the country generates at a minimal level.
“Nigeria is not capable of handing radioactive waste for now as a country; we have not gone into radioactive activities to generate that kind of waste.
“For instance, we have only reactor (a device that generates radiation used for studies) in the country, based in Zaria, so there is no cause for alarm,’’ he said.
He charged relevant agencies to sensitise companies that generate radioactive waste on the dangers of improper disposing of such materials.
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