World Water Day: Dangote, others urge businesses to protect groundwater
In a bid to preserve the environment and prioritize the protection of groundwater, experts have urged businesses to deliberately incorporate the protection of groundwater in the operational designs and sourcing of industrial protection facilities.
These were part of the submissions by Tukur Lawal, the head of community affairs and environment, Dangote Cement Plc, in his presentation during a webinar to mark the 2022 World Water Day, recently hosted by the Lagos Business School Sustainability Centre in collaboration with Dangote Cement and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
He stated that Dangote Cement has always engaged in the global best practice in this regard, pointing out that some of the best practices by the organisation include the dry cement production process, recycling and reuse of 20percent 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 – a development he said has benefitted about 143 farmers in Zambia.
The virtual event was in line with this year’s theme ‘GroundWater: Making the Invisible Visible’ and it centred on the fact that groundwater is only 3percent of the world’s fresh water and yet the largest and most widely distributed source of freshwater.
Speaking also during the event, Igazeuma Okoroba, the head of sustainability, Dangote Cement, 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.
Patrick Lumumba M’mayi, UNEP water specialist, 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?” he asked.
Similarly, Oreva Atanya, manager, LBS Sustainability Centre also 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 to commemorate human reliance on water and raises 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 stipulates “Clean Water and Sanitation for All by 2030.”