Senate has directed the Notore Chemical Company and the Port Harcourt Refineries to treat their dischargeable chemical components of the effluents from their production processes to the internationally acceptable standards before they are discharged into the rivers.
It also urged the National Environmental Standards Regulatory Agency, NESRA to carry out holistic appraisal of the effluents being discharged into rivers by the companies in order to forestall such occurrences in the future.
Similarly, the upper house called on the agency to enforce compliance of their approved minimum chemical components dischargeable into water bodies by chemical processing companies in the country.
It also asked the Ministries of Environment and Water Resources to “work out a remedial process of recovering the aquatic balance of the affected water bodies so that fishes and other living organisms in the aquatic environment would redevelop for the benefits of there people so affected”.
These resolutions followed a motion, “Destruction of marine life by the effluent from Notore Chemical Company and the Port Harcourt Refineries company into the Ekerekana River and environment”, by Senator George Sekibo (PDP Rivers East), and co-sponsored by Senators Olaka Nwogu (PDP Rivers South-East) and Osinachukwu Ideazu (PDP Rivers West).
Senator Sekibo, while presenting the motion, noted that the National Fertiliser Company of Nigeria, NAFCON, established in 1981 for fertiliser production in the country, has since been bought by the Notore Chemical Company.
He added that the Port Harcourt Refineries 1 and 2 were also established for the refining of petroleum products for the use of the nation, but informed that “effluents from the three companies, especially the wash off effluent from the recently maintained refineries were discharged into the Ekerekana River, which has transported same to other water bodies in the suburb”.
According to him, the water bodies breathe major sources of livelihoods for fishermen in Okrika, Ogu/Bolo and Eleme local government area of Rivers State and other neighbouring settlements.
Senator Sekibo expressed sadness that “from inception of theses co panes till date, aquatic organisms have continued to decrease in quantum, thus affecting the livelihoods of the people of the areas who solely depend on the natural resources of the sea as fishermen”.
Other lawmakers, who contributed to the debates, also lamented the negative impacts of pollution by chemicals from the companies on water and environment in the affected areas.