INTRODUCTION | MISSION AND VISION | AIM AND SCOPE OF THE CENTRE | ORGANOGRAM | ACTIVITIES AND INNOVATIONS | PARTNERSHIPS | CONTACT US
The National Centre for Marine Pollution Monitoring was established at the University of Port Harcourt in April, 2009 for the implementation of one of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA Technical Cooperation projects on the Environment with emphasis on marine pollution monitoring. The project, RAF/7/008 is entitled “Enhancing Regional Capacity for the Assessment of Contamination in the Marine Environment”. It is jointly supported by Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
MISSION AND VISION
The Mission of the Centre is to “enhance human capacity for the deployment of nuclear energy techniques for the assessment of contamination in the Marine Environment.”
As a consequence of the above, the VISION of the centre is to serve as a “Centre of excellence for the training of highly capable scientists in the application of nuclear techniques for marine pollution assessment and to conduct research on the conservation and protection of the nation’s marine resources”.
AIM AND SCOPE OF THE CENTRE
The Centre’s primary aim is to serve as a coordinating institution for the adoption of a nationally coordinated approach to Nigeria’s marine pollution and sea food safety monitoring programmes.
The scope of the Centre’s activities covers three broad areas as follows
· Baseline studies and pollution “HOT SPOTS” identification/mapping;
· Pollution trends assessment; and
· Monitoring of seafood safety.
These activities are carried out through FOUR monitoring stations located in the South-west, Lagos, South-east, Calabar, and two in the south central, Port Harcourt (Rivers State) and Koluama (Bayelsa).
The Centre is headed by a National Coordinator jointly appointed by the Federal Government of Nigeria and the International Atomic Energy Agency. He is responsible for coordinating the activities of the zonal field monitoring stations.
He also prepares periodic reports for the IAEA, the Minister of Environment through the National Liaison officer to the IAEA who is also the Chairman of the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC) and the Vice Chancellor of the host Institution, the University of Port Harcourt.
The Zonal Field Monitoring Stations headed by a Zonal Coordinator are responsible for the execution of the project in respective zones and submit quarterly reports on their activities to the National Coordinator.
The detailed management setup for the centre is illustrated in figure 1. Basically, the Federal Ministry of Environment is the overall owner of the project, and in liaison with the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC), serves as the counterpart institution to the International Atomic Energy Agency. The University of Port Harcourt is the host institution of the National Coordination Centre and the South Central Zonal Coordination stations. However, NAEC being the Nigerian Government liaison institute to the IAEA advices the Minister of Environment on all IAEA actions concerning the implementation of the project in Nigeria.
There is also a National Steering Committee for the project headed by a former Minister of Science and Technology, HRM (King) Dr Ebitimi Banigo and 14 other members representing various stakeholders. The committee gives direction on the project, monitors and evaluate its outcomes, and facilitates the establishment of linkages and sourcing of funds.
ACTIVITIES AND INNOVATIONS
Within the framework of the RAF/7/008 project, our primary focus has been on monitoring marine pollution stocks and seafood safety through zonal field monitoring stations, namely:
· South – West (Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research, Lagos).
· South – Central (University of Port Harcourt) one station each at Port Harcourt and
· South – East (University of Calabar)
At each field monitoring station, a technical team made up of scientists in the catchment area’s tertiary institutions, research institutes and relevant government agencies is drawn up. Each team has a leader who directs data acquisition over prescribed timeframes and reports to the National Coordinator. And the Zonal Monitoring stations are responsible for executing the project.
The following activities are currently being undertaken at the four monitoring stations:
We now have a limited database on nutrients, heavy metals, organochlorides and hydrocarbons in all three coastal zones of the country.
Hotspots Identification and Mapping
Following the conclusion of a reconnaissance survey of the coastal zone, it as observed that:
the Lagos Lagoon, the largest of the four lagoon systems in the Gulf of Guinea Coast;
the Niger Delta Basin, the third largest drainage basin in Africa; and
the estuaries of the Imo, Qua Iboe and Cross Rivers in the eastern coast are all pollution “hot spots” in the Nigeria coastline.
The counterpart institution charged with the mapping of these “hot spots”, the Regional Centre for training in Aerospace Survey, RECTAS has commenced the mapping process and the establishment of databases.
Establishment of Functional Network of Laboratories using Nuclear Analytical Techniques and Operating within National Marine Pollution Monitoring Programmes.
We have established a network of three functional laboratories and arrangements have been concluded for the construction of the fourth one at Koluama, Bayelsa State.
These laboratories are located in the zonal monitoring stations as follows:
The National Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research, NIOMR, Lagos;
The University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt; and
The Institute of Oceanography, University of Calabar, Calabar.
The central laboratory using nuclear analytical techniques is located at the University of Port Harcourt and when fully operational, would service the other three zonal laboratories in handling nuclear materials.
Support for PhD Research Project
The Centre is presently supporting three PhD research projects in the following areas:
· Assessment of faunal distribution in the Inter – layers of the Marine Sediment Core off the Niger Delta Coast, Nigeria;
· Dispersion of PAHs in the Niger Delta Ecosystem; and
· Studies of Pulonium and lead Fluxes in the Central Coastline of Nigeria.
The Centre provided offshore Fellowships of three month duration each for the second and third projects and have concluded arrangements for the first candidate to proceed for Fellowship training in sediment core dating and radiometry.
POTENTIAL FOR COLLABORATION AND PARTNERSHIP WITH INDUSTRY/ INVESTORS
The specialized equipment we have received from the IAEA which include an Alpha Spectrometre and a triple sediment corer offer opportunity for use to reconstruct pollution trends dating back some 100yrs. These equipment also have applications in the oil exploration and exploitation process and therefore provide excellent opportunity for collaboration with the oil companies and oil servicing companies.
Our activities in the seafood safety sector provides additional opportunity for collaboration with operators in the food processing sub-sector.
Government Agencies such as:
The Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA;
The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency, NOSREA; and
The NATIONAL Environmental Standards and Regulatory Agency, NESREA would benefit immensely from collaboration with our Centre given the relevance of our activities to their mandates.
PROF. FRANCIS D. SIKOKI,
CENTRE FOR MARINE POLLUTION MONITORING,
FGN-IAEA Project, RAF/7/008
UNIVERSITY OF PORT HARCOURT,
P.M.B. 5323, PORT HARCOURT
Tel: +234(0)803 – 544 – 2364
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