Prof. Nasiru Abdus-Salam of the Department of Chemistry, University of Ilorin, has submitted that consumption of chemically contaminated water by mothers has significant effect on the gestation of infants and the birth weight of babies.
Abdus-Salam said this on Thursday in Ilorin during his paper presentation at the 226th Inaugural Lecture of the University, entitled: “Pollution: A Curse or a Necessity, the Choice is Yours”.
The don, who teaches in the Faculty of Physical Sciences of the university, observed that drinking water contaminants include several chemicals such as arsenic, aluminium, lead, fluoride, radon and pesticides.
He observed that research has shown that pregnant women who drink contaminated water are more likely to have babies that are premature or have low birth weight.
He added that some contaminants enter water through leaching, accidental spills, runoff and atmospheric disposition, while others such as disinfection by-products and lead, are introduced during treatment or even at the tap.
According to him, the health effects range from cancer, cardiovascular disease, advisers reproductive outcomes and neurological diseases.
He stated that contamination of the environment with different inorganic and organic compounds, such as pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and metals, represents one of the main environmental challenges buildup of the chemical industry due to globalisation and industrialisation’s demand.
“This results in an increase in the production and release of chemicals in the environment at a rate faster than environmental interventions and remediation systems can be implemented.
“Similarly, the concept of urbanisation has increased the chemical build-up in most cities with attendant unhealthy consequences on vegetation, and human and animal health,” he warned.
Abdus-Salam quoted the UNICEF report that revealed 2.2 billion people lack access to safe drinking water, adding that more than half of the global population do not have access to safe sanitation and 673 million people practice open defecation.
“Nearly one-third of Nigerian children do not have enough water to meet their daily needs and one in five children globally also do not have adequate water to meet their everyday needs,” he said.
He submitted that global pollution problems emanate from poor management of anthropogenic activities.
“Therefore, it is our collective responsibility to make pollution either a mere necessity or a monster,” he advised.
Andus-Salam reminded that fresh water resources are critical to a healthy environment and water usability.
The expert however added that these resources are polluted at varying degrees and necessary water standards and regulations must be enforced to ensure portable water quality in Nigeria. NAN