Operators in the extractive industries have been urged to deliberately incorporate the protection of groundwater in their operational designs and sourcing of industrial production facilities.
The Head of Community Affairs and Environment, Dangote Cement Plc, Engr. Tukur Lawal made the submission in his presentation to stakeholders in sustainability Ecosystem during a webinar organised to mark the 2022 World Water Day, hosted by the Lagos Business School Sustainability Centre in collaboration with Dangote Cement Plc and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
According to Lawal, Dangote Cement has always engaged in the global best practice in this regard, while also providing water for farmers, especially in Zamfara.
He said, “some of the best practices by Dangote Cement Plc, include the Dry Cement Production Process, recycling and re-use of 20% of water at the company’s Ibese plant in South West Nigeria, as well as channeling of treated water to farmers in the surrounding communities.”
The virtual event, which had in attendance stakeholders from across Africa, was in line with this year’s theme With the theme ‘GroundWater: Making the Invisible Visible’, stakeholders across Africa agreed with the fact that groundwater is only 3% of the world’s fresh water and yet the largest and most widely distributed source of freshwater.
The Head of Sustainability, Dangote Cement Plc, Dr. Igazeuma Okoroba, said the web forum was organised to raise awareness and promote collaboration in the sustainable use of groundwater, which is an essential resource for everyone.
Also speaking UNEP Water Specialist, Mr. Patrick Lumumba M’mayi, emphasised the need for collaboration and partnership between Communities, Academia, Government and Businesses to tackle groundwater pollution and drive sustainable management of this precious resource. “The question then becomes: How much do we invest in this resource so that it’s available for our use today and remains available for our generations yet unborn?”
The Manager, Lagos Business Svhool Sustainability Centre, Mrs. Oreva Atanya admonished the participants and stakeholders to leave with a sense of collective responsibility. “While organisations like UNEP work based on requests from governments, companies in the extractive industry should also ensure they adhere to the highest environmental standard. NGOs and citizens have a duty as well.”
According to Kaine Chinwa, a scholar and participant at the panel discussion, it is important that Africa finds solutions locally to mitigate groundwater pollution which is already prevalent around the continent, especially in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region.
World Water Day is commemorated every year to emphasize human reliance on water and raise awareness of the 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water. The day also brings attention to the actions needed to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6, which seeks to provide “Clean Water and Sanitation for All by 2030”.