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FG, World Bank to fund $18.5 million PCB project

03 September 2012, 16:00

Abuja - The Federal Government and the World Bank will jointly fund the implementation of 18.5 million dollar  Polychlorinated Biphenyl  (PCB) Management project in Nigeria, says an official.

Ms Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Country Representative in Nigeria, who made this known on Monday in Abuja, said the project would be funded from the Global Environmental Fund.

Polychlorinated Biphenyl is a class of organic compounds found to be fire-resistant, stable and non-conductive to electricity and with low volatility under normal conditions.

Equipment containing PCBs include transformers, capacitors, ballasts, paint additives and hydraulic fluid additives.

The health effects associated with PCBs include cancer, reproductive and development toxicity, impaired immune function, effects on the central nervous system and liver damage.

``The PCB project is for implementation over a four years period to December 2015 and it is financed jointly by the global Environment Fund (GEF) and the Federal Government of Nigeria.

``The GEF has provided 6.3 million dollars and the Federal Government will provide an additional 12.2 million dollars to eliminate environmental and health risks in Nigeria posed by PCBs,’’ she said.

Marie-Nelly, who was represented by Dr Badrul  Haque, a senior operation’s officer of the bank, said that major health risk emanated from active and decommissioned equipment in PHCN facilities as well as  industries that had stocks such as oil refineries, airport and textile mills.

She noted that safe disposal would reduce the environmental risk a, adding that it was the major aim of launching the project.

``The project will strengthen and harmonise hazardous chemicals and waste management regulations, strengthen the disposal management system and facilitates safe disposal of hazardous wastes.’’

She said that the bank had a portfolio of more than 4.5 billion dollars lending and grants in Nigeria and long-standing and broad involvement in the power sector.

The Minister of Environment, Mrs Hadiza Mailafia, said the PCB project would improve public health and environment quality by actively preventing the release of the substances into the environment.

``It is worthy of note that this project is designed to improve public health and environmental quality by preventing the environmental release of PCBs from active and decommissioned electrical equipment in PHCN facilities.

``This, include other private sectors such as oil refineries, airports, textile mills so as to ensure their sound management and ultimate safe disposal,’’ she said.

She added that capacity building for PCB management which include policy, regulatory and institutional review as well as strengthen was sacrosanct.

She commended the World Bank for its financial assistance for the project and assured of government's commitment to the implementation of the project.

Earlier, Mr Taiye Haruna, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, said the toxicity in the PCBs was dangerous to human health.

Haruna noted that the health effects of PCBs included cancer, reproductive and development toxicity, impaired immune function, effects on the central nervous system and liver damage.

The Nigeria is a signatory to the Stockholm Convention which requires all parties to eliminate the use of PCB containing equipment by 2025.

The project was approved for implementation in Nigeria on Dec. 21, 2011.


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