Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt
A federal government agency, Institute of Chartered Chemists of Nigeria (ICCON), has embarked on a sensitisation programme on chemical safety and security for communities in Rivers State.
Participants at the awareness programme held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, yesterday were selected from Ahoada West and Ahoada East Local Government Areas of the state.
During the training by the institute under the Federal Ministry of Health, participants were taught how to handle chemicals without endangering the environment and the people.
The resource persons also explained that some people in the past have hazardously handled the chemicals which have caused serious negative effects on human being.
Speaking at the workshop, the Vice President of ICCON, Mr. Owoo Majek, said chemical accidents have over the years caused serious damage to human and the environment, stressing that preventing such contingency, raising the bar against accidents as well as terrorist attacks are a responsibility shared by governments and industry.
According to Majek, who represented the president of ICCON at the programme, “Chemical safety and security is fast becoming a priority area for the Institute of Chartered Chemists of Nigeria activities aimed at enhancing implementation of some of our mandates through our Chemical Safety and Security Programme (CSSP).”
Majek explained that the essence of the programme was to make both industries management and employees aware of the importance of safety and security, and encourage their commitment to making the workplace safer and more secure.
It is also to “ensuring that the standard Operating Procedures (SOP) of any process, be it industrial, military, paramilitary, laboratory or official operational service, must be reviewed to identify the presence of any possible risk associated with CBRNE and the possible mitigation practices entrenched for safety.
“That the chemical professionals collaborate with governments, and national and international chemical organisations to raise awareness about chemical security and safety, and to mitigate the risks of chemical threats.”
He stated that ICCON had organised about seven training programmes on chemical safety and security with more than 600 participants in attendance who benefited from the programmes.
Majek, who noted that the primary aim of the programme was to ensure a safe and secure chemical environment, added that: “Achieving a safety and security culture in the chemical industry requires engagement with critical stakeholders. Stopping the misuse of chemicals cannot be done by rules and regulations alone. It also requires a high degree of awareness and shared vision. The Institute stands ready to advance partnerships to this end.”
Also speaking, Mr. Jwalshik Wilford, registrar and executive officer of ICCON, disclosed that the agency had taken similar awareness programme to other parts of the country.
One of the participants who spoke to THISDAY, Paul Ideozu, a native of Ahoada East, thanked ICCON for the impacted knowledge, noting the danger of misusing chemicals.
He said: “It’s a privilege of me being here today, and I have learned from the lectures delivered. They taught us on how to manage our waste chemicals. I must thank the institute for empowering this programme because is good for us to know all these things as humans so that we can live longer in our environment.”