Akwa Ibom government has reiterated its commitment towards promoting healthy and safe environment for residents and investors in the state.
Commissioner of Environment Mr Charles Udoh stated this in an address at the first- ever workshop on environmental health standards organised by the Ministry of Environment in collaboration with the Nigerian Environmental Society, yesterday in Uyo.
Udoh said the rationale behind the workshop was to educate food and hospitality operators on the new environmental health standards needed to effectively run their businesses to ensure safety of citizens
“The present administration led by His Excellency, Deacon Udom Emmanuel placed priority attention on the safety of our environment and promotes healthy living among citizens .
“As we all know, our environment begins with us, the people, so we reasoned that one of the ways of keeping us safe is to educate us on the set out environmental health standard needed to run our business effectively without having to endanger one’s health.” He said.
The commmissioner who expressed satisfaction at the turnout expressed his conviction, that now is the time to revive the environmental health programme of government which has gone extinct for decades.
He used the occasion to restate government commitment to ending illegal dredging in the state and revealed that the initial plan of government was not to prosecute offenders, but to show them reasons why they should desist from their illegal activities.
According to Udoh such practice has continued to pose great threat to the environment, destroying critical infrastructures in the state adding that the plan changed when government encountered resistance and threats from offenders.
The Commissioner advised food and hospitality operators in the state to adhere to the environmental health standards as strict enforcement of environmental health guidelines would commence soon across the state.
Chairman of the state chapter of the Nigeria Environmental Society, Prof. Comfort Etok, who gave a paper presentation on the basic food safety rules, said that on a yearly basis about one million two hundred thousand people die from food exposed to chemicals exposed to food.
To minimize or eradicate this menace, food and hospitality operators Etok insisted must follow food safety rules.
Chairman of the State Hotels Management and Tourism Board, Mr. Ini Akpabio opined that considering the danger posed to human health through unsafe food consumption, it was expedite for government and other critical agencies to meet with the food and hospitality operators towards chatting a new paradigm.