Minister of Environment, Mrs. Hadiza Ibrahim Mailafia
By James Emejo
The Federal Government said it was determined to curtail the possible adverse effects of chemicals usage on human health and environment through appropriate policies and controls.
Speaking in Abuja at the National Inception/Awareness Raising Workshop on Nanosafety, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, Mr. Taiye Haruna said although chemicals play an important role in national development through the production and use of live-saving medicines, purification agents for the treatment of drinking water supplies as well as boost to agricultural productivity, it could however, become disastrous if not properly managed.
The sensitisation programme was organised by the ministry in collaboration with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).
Themed: “Raising Awareness on Nano Safety in Nigeria Towards Ensuring Sound Management of Chemicals”, the workshop, attended by the civil society, academia, consumer protection organisations and government, sought to among other things, create awareness and identify nano safety priorities and elements of a nanosafety policy for the country.
He said: “Nano technology and manufactured nano materials are an emerging global issue that involves the study of minute particles, a millionth of a centimetre in size, that exhibit special properties proving to be of immense use in various sectors of national development.
“The benefits of nanosafety is enormous, however, a major global concern is how do countries ensure that both people and the environment will be protected from materials employed in nano technology products i.e the critical issue of nanosafety for which we are gathered today.”
The programme coordinator, Mrs. Biola Olanipekun said despite the progress made in science and technology in the country, national activities related to nano technology and manufactured nanomaterials were still limited with low level of awareness among the public and key stakeholders.
The Federal Ministry of Environment had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with UNITAR in 2011 to undertake a 12-month project titled: “Training and Capacity Building for the Development of Nano-safety Pilot Project in Nigeria”.
The project, expected to be completed in December 2012, is being undertaken through the collaboration of the Nigerian government and UNITAR with the financial support from the Government of Switzerland.