21st September, 2010
The Lagos State Government has sealed four warehouses at Eric Moore Industrial area ofÂ Lagos State, South West Nigeria, where illegal toxic wastes were being stored and laterÂ dumped in the Majidun River.
The toxic wastes included expired dry cell batteries which are being dumped in the waterÂ bodies in the state and it is feared that this could lead to outbreak of epidemic ifÂ urgent action is not taken to prevent it.
The warehouses are located at 40/42 Jimoh Odutola Street. Some people involved in theÂ toxic waste dump have been arrested.
Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Muiz Banire said that officials of the Monitoring,Â Enforcement and Compliance Department (MEC) of the ministry apprehended some truckÂ drivers while dumping the toxic materials in the Majidun River.
The vehicles were traced to the warehouses whereÂ thousands of cartons of the expiredÂ Tiger Head batteries were stored.
Banire condemned the action, saying that arbitrary disposal of toxic wastes into waterÂ bodies and arable land put the entire populace at the risk of epidemic, adding that suchÂ action was cable of stifling economic activities through low productivity as a result ofÂ ill health, while the aquatic life and the people were equally under immense threat ofÂ extermination.
According to him, new born babies would be the most vulnerable as they might contract aÂ disease commonly called the Blue Baby Syndrome; a disease which is contracted throughÂ high exposure to lead, a major toxic agent of the dry cell battery.
He added that the lead, when accumulated in the body system of aquatic animals like fish,Â shrimps, snails and frogs, and in-turn consumed by unsuspecting members of the publicÂ could cause to skin and blood cancer.
Banire warned industrialists, manufacturers, poultry farmers and depot managers to stopÂ indiscriminate waste disposal by not patronizing quack logistic companies for theÂ disposal of their industrial wastes as many of them did not have the scientific equipmentÂ to determine their hazardous implications.
The commissioner advised them to always contact the Lagos State Environmental ProtectionÂ Agency (LASEPA) and the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) as the statutoryÂ agencies of the Ministry of the Environment empowered and equipped for the properÂ assessment of environmental impacts of industrial wastes and proper disposal of solidÂ waste respectively.
He vowed that companies found wanting in this wise would not escape the appropriateÂ dictates of the law as ignorance of due process and environmental friendly businessÂ practices would never be acceptable as a defence for carrying out incriminating actsÂ which are injurious to both human and natural endowment of the state in the guise ofÂ doing business.