News / Africa

Nigeria to Tackle Lead Poisoning

A local health worker wears a mask as he removes earth contaminated by lead from a family compound in the village of Dareta in Gusau, Nigeria, June 10, 2010.A local health worker wears a mask as he removes earth contaminated by lead from a family compound in the village of Dareta in Gusau, Nigeria, June 10, 2010.
x
A local health worker wears a mask as he removes earth contaminated by lead from a family compound in the village of Dareta in Gusau, Nigeria, June 10, 2010.
A local health worker wears a mask as he removes earth contaminated by lead from a family compound in the village of Dareta in Gusau, Nigeria, June 10, 2010.
Reuters
Nigeria will release funds this week to tackle the world's worst lead poisoning outbreak which has killed at least 400 children, a senator said on Monday, ending months of official inaction in which 1,500 more children were put at risk.

In May last year the government pledged 850 million naira ($5.4 million) to help clean up the lead and treat the thousands poisoned by contamination from an artisan gold mine in the Bagega area of northern Zamfara, but medical charity Doctor's Without Borders (MSF) said the money never materialized.

MSF said none of the ministers - mines, environment and health - scheduled to attend a conference on the poisoning last year showed up, and after that repeatedly complained that funds pledged for a cleanup had not been disbursed.

"The funds will be released this week," Bukola Saraki, head of a senate environment committee told Reuters in an interview.

"Unfortunately not enough attention has been paid on this. Sometimes the most vulnerable get forgotten, “said Saraki, who visited the affected areas of Zamfara last week.

MSF have said they are running out of time to complete the remediation - clearing up of the lead - before the rainy season starts in April. Impassable roads will then make it too difficult for the cleanup team to start work until the rainy season ends around October.

Until they have cleared the lead they cannot effectively treat 1,500 children under the age of five who are contaminated.

The epidemic could still get worse because artisan mining continues unabated in Zamfara, where people say they can earn $4 a day, more than other available jobs.

"They're not going to stop. I saw a woman who had lost eight kids, but she is still mining," Saraki said.

"The only way around it is to invest in getting better methods for mining, provide modern equipment and get a more structured industry for these people to work in."

MSF has criticized the government for banning artisan mining, an approach it says will not work, instead of helping the poor community to make it safe.

Nigeria has one of the world's worst records on environmental protection, with massive oil spills in its southeastern Niger Delta region occurring frequently.

Government pledges to commit funds to clean up the devastation there and stop gas flaring have been largely unmet.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs