By Nnamdi Akpa Abakaliki
The National President of the Epidemiological Association of Nigeria (EPISON) Prof. Lawrence Ogbonnaya, has urged governments to set environmental standard for mining industries in the country noting that such standards should form major policy thrusts of governments in the mining sector.
He added that unregulated mining activities pose great danger to human health and generally degrade the environment adding that setting a good standard in the mining industry will help to reposition the sector.
Prof Ogbonnaya gave the urge in Abakaliki while delivering a lecture at the 16th inaugural lecture of the Ebonyi State University Abakaliki with the theme: ‘Contextualising decision support for policy makers in infectious diseases, epidemiology and ççntrol: the role of policy dialogue.
He said that such standards should form major policy thrusts of governments in the mining sector as unregulated mining activities pose great danger to human health and generally degrade the environment.
“The activities of artisanal and industrial miners leave behind small and large craters which become large water bodies and are sometimes, close to residential areas.
He noted that miners are not compelled to effect remedial actions to reclaim the land and this makes water bodies to become mosquito breeding sites and habour dangerous reptiles such as crocodiles.
“Miners should be compelled to close former mining sites and correcting hazards which include refilling quarry pits to return the land to its natural state.
Ogbonnaya urged the national and state malaria elimination programmes to target at-risk-communities to enhance scale-up malaria control interventions.
“Modalities for immunization especially for children under five years should be strengthened as poor immunisation coverage leads to increased death of children under this category.
The Vice Chancellor of the Ebonyi state university Prof. Chigozie Ogbu, hailed Ogbonnaya for his contributions to clinical medicine practice and the society in general.
“You have added value to the university’s lecture series and we would ensure that it is enhanced through the rich inputs of distinguished scholars.
Ogbonnaya was also during the occasion, inducted into the Distinguished Professors Forum of the university, by Prof. Omaria Omaka, Chairman of the forum.