Shutdown Benue Ethanol Company Put Up Structure To Arrest Pollution

By Bukar Bolori

Shut ethanol- producing company, Pure Biotech Company Limited, has put up a state of the art facility to control its emission of pollutant into River Benue.

The National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) and the Nigeria Police Force had sealed off the company on 17th April, 2023 for contravening environmental law by discharging pollutants into public water system.

The company was subsequently opened last week when it was able to convince NESREA that necessary facilities and control have been put in place to control emission of pollutants into public water system.

Among the facilities install is a state-of-the-art Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP), which is deployed to prevent the reoccurrence of wastewater contamination, which was the reason for its shutdown.

In an interview with our correspondent on Tuesday, the Manager, Corporate Communications and Public Relations of the company, Mr Stephen Numbeve, said his organisation has taken the necessary step to get reopened and would never go through the route that brought the clampdown.

He admitted the accidental discharge of untreated effluent (wastewater) into the Benue River in Bezu Village where the factory is located, has led to severe pollution, and could not blame the environmental right groups and other stakeholders call for the shut down of the Chinese factory.

Numbeve said the organisation have learnt a big lesson, which made it to take the decision to optimise its Environmental Management System (EMS) by completing its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process. This, he said has been approved and awaiting EIS certification by the Federal Ministry of Environment.

He said: “It is important to make it clear that the said discharge was not a continuous one as being widely reported. It occurred just that moment while the facility’s Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) then was under a test run. We erred, we were sanctioned according to the environmental laws, our facility was sealed off by NESREA on 17th April for almost two (2) weeks, but most importantly, we have learnt our lessons!

“After complying with stipulated conditions for unsealing in line NESREA’s enforcement procedures, including conducting independent physicochemical analysis, ascertaining the functionality of ETP, payment of fines, our company was unsealed on 29th April, 2023, we have resumed operations”.

Numbeve said the company had equipped its laboratory to ensure that product, effluent and air quality analysis were carried out to ensure that all parameters meet standards and regulations of relevant bodies.

“We are adopting circular economy approach to waste management. Now, all solid and liquid wastes are converted into bio-gas, fertiliser, and even the treated wastewater now being recycled.

“Nothing is to be discharged into the environment or river, anymore! We encourage the general public to take a tour to the company and see things for yourselves,” he said.

He said Pure Biotech Company Limited was law abiding and would continually improve on its systems and programs toward protecting the environment and human health.

“Pure Biotech Company Limited has invested a fortune to optimize her waste management mechanisms. Our vision is to become a leading environmental friendly company in Benue State and the North Central Nigeria.”

Pure Biotech Company Limited, beside the incident, is not discharging any effluent into the environment, river or any water body whatsoever.

The PR manager said the company was embarking on several Corporate Social Responsibility programmes, such as the provision of clean water, education, healthcare, farm support, employment opportunities for the indigenes.

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