Lead Poisoning: 29 Villages Still In Danger

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Only eight of the 37 communities affected by lead poisoning in Zamfara have been remediated with 29 villages still awaiting decontamination in their areas.

Alhaji Shehu Anka, the state Director, Environmental Protection Control, said this in Gusau while speaking at a one day stakeholders’ meeting on Bagega’s remediation.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the remediation process entailed the removal of the contaminated soil and its replacement with fresh unpolluted one.

The Gusau meeting was organised by Global Rights, an NGO.

Anka blamed the non-remediation of the 29 villages on the retrieval of the decontamination equipment, including soil test machines and vehicles by the Federal Ministry of Environment after the exercise was concluded in Bagega town.

He wondered why the equipment needed in the remediation sites was taken away by the Federal Ministry of Environment.

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Speaking at the meeting, Mrs Nicole Langer , the Project Coordinator, Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF), otherwise known as Doctors without Borders, said that the mortality rate had reduced from 43 per cent as of 2010 to 3.2 per cent up to September 2013.

Langer said that 4,484 children had been registered by MSF since the beginning of the programme.

She said 1,596 patients were treated and discharged successfully while about 1,905 patients were receiving treatment and follow-up procedure.

The coordinator further said that, the MSF was now giving medical attention to cases like measles, malaria and malnutrition.

Also speaking, the Senior Programme Officer of the Global Rights, Mr Adebayo Okeowo said the meeting was organised in order to discuss with stakeholders on the impact of remediation, after the exercise was completed at Bagega.