Nigeria: Ogoniland Clean-Up - Minister, Other Top Govt Officials Begin Tour of UK

Abuja — To equip themselves with international experiences and best practices on the clean-up of large-scale contaminated sites, including Ogoniland, the Minister of Environment, Suleiman Hassan Zarma is currently leading other senior government officials to the United Kingdom (UK) on an international working visit, facilitated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The international site visit will allow the delegates to observe an extensive range of in-situ and ex-situ remediation techniques, such as soil washing, bioremediation, thermal desorption, and separating techniques, among others.

It is envisaged that these demonstrations and visits will build Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), a dedicated institution to manage the clean-up process under the oversight of the Environment Ministry.

In a statement signed by the Ministry's Director of Press, Saghir el Mohammed: "The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) assessed the extent and severity of the contamination in 2011 and found severe and widespread contamination due to oil production spanning several decades."

"Experts have said that the restoration of Ogoniland initiated by the Federal Government of Nigeria could prove to be the world's most complex and longest oil clean-up exercise ever undertaken.

"The Federal Government of Nigeria has committed to follow the United Nations Environment Programme's recommendations. Thus, upon assumption of office in 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari underscored his resolve to restore livelihood in the oil-contaminated Ogoniland, by creating the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), a dedicated institution to manage the clean-up process under the oversight of the Federal Ministry of Environment."

"It is in order to equip them better to deliver on their mandate that the minister is leading members of HYPREP's Governing Council as well as other senior stakeholders currently on working visits to five sites in the United Kingdom, as part of a series of international site visits," the statement said.

Acccording to the statement, these include Biogénie's Trecatti and Redhill soil treatment facilities in South Wales and South East England respectively; the Coed Darcy regeneration project in South Wales; the former Avenue Coking Works in the East Midlands, and ALS Laboratories in North West England.

"Biogénie's Trecatti contaminated soil treatment facility in Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales is able to clean-up a variety of contaminants with a specific focus on soils impacted by petroleum hydrocarbons. In addition, the Biogénie's Redhill soil treatment facility in South East England operates at a larger scale and can accept a wider range of types of waste.

"It also acts as the main treatment facility for London and the South East. In addition, the visit will be an opportunity for the delegation to visit Coed Darcy, one of the largest regeneration projects in the United Kingdom. It was formerly occupied by the BP Llandarcy Oil Refinery until operations ceased in the mid-80s. St. Modwen is currently working with Atkins to clean up and redevelop the site in a sustainable way.

"By 2027, this redeveloped site will be transformed into a new £1.2 billion urban village that will house around 10,000 people," the statement said.

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