Expert Canvasses for Green Chemistry

Group photograph of members of the Chemical Society of Nigeria at the Ogun 2010 Conference

A Professor of Analytical and Environmental Chemistry, Professor Oladele Osibanjo, has said that Green Chemistry is fundamental to prevention of chemical pollution, calling for its incorporation into industrial processes in Nigeria, as a panacea for development.

Professor Osibanjo made this  call while delivering a Keynote Address at the 33rd Annual International Conference, Workshop and Exhibition of the Chemical Society of Nigeria (CSN) Ogun 2010, with the theme “Green Chemistry and Sustainable Development: Challenges and Prospects”.

Professor Osibanjo who is the Director of Basel Convention Coordinating Centre for Training and Technology Transfer for the African Region, described the theme as auspicious to the ongoing discussions at the international arena on how to achieve a toxic free world by 2020.

He stressed that Chemistry is an integral part of our daily lives in food, agriculture, industrialization and telecommunication as well as achieving industrial development and ensuring environmental sustainability.

He, however, pointed out that the multi-dimensional positive effect that chemicals have for the economy are negated by threats caused by the improper use and management of toxic chemical waste.

Professor Osibanjo advocated for the adoption of Sound Management of Chemicals (SMC) as an avenue towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

According to him, insufficient  capacity and knowledge on how to manage toxic chemicals and wastes, has caused high risks to human health and the environment because the strategies and measures adopted amounted to trying to abate pollution after it has occurred.

The University Don stated that the practice of Green Chemistry would reduce the generation of hazardous substances in the design, manufacturing and application of chemical products.

The Minister of Environment, Mr. John Odey in his Goodwill Message described the Conference as timely and “a right step in the right direction”, while stressing that the impact of chemicals in the environment was one of the key challenging issues, globally.

Mr. Odey who was represented by the Federal Controller of Environment, Ogun State, Mr. Segun Adebiyi, disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Environment has ratified several chemical-related Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEAs) to control hazardous and toxic chemicals through the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM).

The Honourable Minister spoke of  the Ministry’s commitment to work with relevant stakeholders to promote environmental friendly sound management of chemicals in Nigeria.

Earlier in his speech, the President of the Chemical Society of Nigeria, Professor Felix Okieimen noted that while Green Chemistry and sustainability was still at its infancy in Nigeria, he  looked forward to a time when it will be fully practicable.

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