Community women, persons with disabilities and adolescent girls from Umuechem and Abara community in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State, who gathered at the training on ways to mitigate environmental pollution and its effects, decried the use of chemicals, including detergent for food processing in their area.
The women said they were made to inhale polluted air from extractive activities of the Multinational Companies and the illegal crude that is often refined in their villages by youths due to unemployment.
They made this known during the ‘Empowering Resilience: Capacity Building for physically challenged and marginalized women on Environmental pollution and Adaptation Strategies training in Port Harcourt.
In their separate delivery, A medical Doctor, Emem Jaja who spoke on environmental pollution and gender equity and another Environmentalist, Mrs. Pamela Romeo, who expressed displeasure over the disappearance of the Mangrove in her community and other parts of the Niger Delta region, gave insight on the effect of pollution and mitigation.⁴
The Medical expert said air pollution could cause deformity in new born babies and increases the risk of heart disease.
The Environmentalist discouraged traders from using chemical to force ripening of their fruits, stressing that the dangers involved in such acts can not be equated with the profit from the quick sales of the food.
Coordinator, Healthy Life Development Initiative, Dr. Mfon Utin, while appreciating Global Greengrants Fund for their role in the event, called on the Society to give persons with disabilities the right to partake in policy formulation, as well as recognize the rights of women and the girl child.
With the event coinciding with the International day of zero tolerance for female genital mutilation, Dr. Utin also lent a voice to the observance, frowning at the practice and calling for it to stop in order to allow the girl child to live a healthy life.
The program which also featured checking of vital signs, presented most women from the communities, as not being healthy; this, some health experts attributed to the effects of environmental pollution.