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Sustainability in the Nigeria Water Sector: Danger of Heavy Metal Poisoning

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Watershed Management to Meet Water Quality Standards and Emerging TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) Proceedings of the Third Conference 5-9 March 2005 (Atlanta, Georgia USA) Publication Date 5 March 2005  701P0105.(doi:10.13031/2013.18127)
Authors:   O. Alamu
Keywords:   Nigerian, heavy metals, sustainability, effluents

Nigeria, with population over 120 million is blessed with abundant resources of rivers and lakes and over 900km of water, provide enormous fishery resources and water for transportation, irrigation and recreation etc. Numerous regulations protecting the water sector in Nigeria has not been effective in controlling the indiscriminate dumping of effluents including heavy metals into open water bodies. Heavy metals present in the untreated water are leads, copper, zinc, nickel and chromium and have serious adverse implications for food and health security of the nation and therefore a threat to sustainable development of the Nigeria economy. Degradation of water quality is most severe in the four states that contain 80 percent of the nations industries; Lagos, Rivers, Kano and Kaduna States, with the highest level of emission of 8000 tones of hazardous waste per year from Lagos State. Economic instruments was found to be effective, in that an effective pollution levy system would ensure that firms with the lowest abatement cost will reduce the pollution the most. Enforcement of the emission standards should be done strictly and Federal Ministry of Environment should utilize funds under the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) to help industries retool their technology. Sustainable agricultural practice should be encouraged by farmers to reduce the amount of heavy metals that will be transferred to plants.

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