A University Don, Prof. Benjamin Dauda, has warned against the devastating effects of oil spillage and plastics on the environment in Nigeria. Dauda, who is the Dean, Faculty of Sciences and Head of Department (HOD), Department of Industrial Chemistry, Federal University Lokoja (FUL), gave the warning at the institution’s 15th Inaugural Lecture held at the Andakolo Auditorium, Lokoja. In his lecture, titled: “Polymer: Material Driving Technological Advancement”, said no doubt the oil sector provide 95 per cent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange and 80 per cent of budgetary revenue, but the devastating effects of oil spillage demand urgent steps by government. He said that 16, 476 spills occurred with three million barrels spilled into the environment of oil producing states thereby putting human and aquatic lives in jeopardy.
“The oil spills occasioned by crude oil theft, illegal refining, sabotage of oil facilities, and erosion of pipelines, consequently damage farm lands and aquatic lives. There’s the loss of revenue, increased cost of spill clean up and human health challenges like still births, miscarriages, skin diseases, etc,” he said. On control measures, Dauda advised organisations to make use of cotton as a better oil sorbent by making it more hydrophobic for oil spill clean up in marine water. “These novel sorbent coated pads have the advantages of high uptake capacity (85 – 95%) owing to their hydrophobicity and oleophilicity,” he said. The lecturer also cautioned against indiscriminate disposal of plastic materials in to the environment, which also has its own effects on the land and humans.
According to him, humans use a staggering one million plastic bottles every minutes due its significants to life aside its effects. He added: “A major drawback in the use of composite (Polymer) is in their high susceptibility to delamination and other catastrophic failures due to imperfection within the structure. This is why government must fund research in universities for economic and social development. We have the know how and we can synergise with colleagues in other fields to proffer solutions. Companies should partner with universities to help solve processing problems and improve quality of their products.”
The don also tasked Nigerian companies producing polymer for global market into having their own Research and Development (R &D) units where they could “employ researchers that conduct research that will help improve processing and quality of products”. Earlier, Prof. Olayemi Akinwumi, the Vice-Chancellor (VC) of FUL, said that in our ever-evolving world, the importance of materials science and its impact on technological advancement could not be overstated. He noted that Dauda’s extensive knowledge, dedication and pioneering research in the field of Polymer Chemistry and Technology have not only contributed significantly to the academic community, but have also played a pivotal role in shaping the technological landscape of our society. (NAN)