The Lagos State Government has stated that the time has come to put an end to unsanitary practices in the operation and management of slaughter houses and abattoirs in order to minimise the harmful effects of such practices.
This position was declared on Wednesday by the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tunji Bello, at a one-day workshop for abattoir operators in Lagos State, themed: “Environmental and Health Implications of unsanitary abattoir operation.”
Bello, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Office of Environmental Services, Belinda Odeneye, maintained that slaughter houses/abattoirs must be approved by the regulatory authorities for hygienic slaughtering of animals, and processing and distribution of meat products for human consumptions.
He said: “Due to rapid increase in the demand of meat, slaughter houses are springing up in the nooks and crannies of the state to meet the needs of the people, thereby raising a lot of operational problems and issues happening from their haphazard way in which they carry out their businesses and making it detrimental to the environment and to human health.”
Bello said the workshop became necessary in order to improve the hygiene status of abattoirs across the state and prevent continuous pollution of the environment from both solid and liquid waste as a result of their operations.
Earlier in her goodwill message, General Manager, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency, Dr. Dolapo Fasawe, who spoke through Oyedele Osifeso, reminded abattoir operators to desist from burning cow hide and skin with disused tyres, saying it is carcinogenic.
The representative of the Director, Veterinary Services, Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Michael Adeyemi, listed some of the criteria required for abattoir operations to include capital, land, access road, tax clearance and refrigerated van.
Adeyemi added that after meeting these requirements, the operator gets a provisional approval for monitoring before getting a Certificate of Operation, which is to be reviewed every year.
A Lecturer in the Community Health Department, Obafemi Awolowo University, Dr. Femi Aluko, said compulsory compliance and proper hygiene of the facility must be adhered to as over 8,000 cows are slaughtered in the state daily.
Aluko explained that as a result of quantity of cows slaughtered in the state, solid waste and water waste from abattoir operations needed to be managed continuously as these wastes mix with underground water and have negative effects on the residents around.
Another facilitator, an Assistant Director from Lagos State Waste Management Authority, Dr. Essien Nsuabia, urged all abattoir operators in the State to ensure they undertake their environmental sanitation exercise always, while LAWMA will be ready to cart away the waste generated during their operations daily.
Nsuabia stressed that abattoir operators should ensure waste water and blood generated from meat processing are adequately discharged properly.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Lagos Butchers Association, Alhaji Kazeem Alabi, expressed their appreciation to the State Government for the workshop and appealed to the Government to provide further training on how to convert waste to wealth.
The meeting had in attendance stakeholders in the meat processing, slaughter slabs and abattoir sectors.