Biotechnology, panacea to coastal environmental sustainability

From Kayode Olabanji, Okitipupa

Prof. Olugbenga Ehinola has averred that biotechnology is the panacea to solve the contemporary issues in coastal environmental sustainability to achieve the Millennium Sustainable Development Goals (MSDG).

He stated this at the 1st International Conference (ICOAULA, 2024) held at the Main Auditorium of Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology, (OAUSTECH) Okitipupa,with the Theme; “Contemporary Issues in Coastal Environment Sustainability”

The keynote speaker, Prof. Ehinola, Aret Adams Professorial Chairman, Geological Studies, University of Ibadan, Nigeria, in his executive summary, said that the society was faced with numerous challenges and for it to meet the MSDG, there must be concerted efforts through collaboration approaches and possession of specialized problem-solving skills.

He added that key contemporary issues are climate change impacts, ocean acidification, loss of biodiversity, pollution and marine debris, coastal developmental pressure, over-exploitation of coastal resources, and loss of coastal wetlands among others.

According to him, “the objective of this lecture is to provide relevant information with a scientific basis to guide policymakers capable of making society a way of the need for sustainable development of a healthy environment in the coastal areas.

“The objective is to help better understand interactions between the economic development model, the politico-institutional, environmental impacts, ecosystemic services, and human welfare,” Ehinola said.

Also speaking on the topic, the Director of Central Research Laboratory and Group Leader, of Enzyme and Environmental Biotechnology Research, Department of Biochemistry, Federal University of Technology (FUTA), Akure, Prof. Folasade Olajuyigbe concluded that Environmental Biotechnology plays a vital role in supporting sustainable development goals especially in: enzyme production for industrial and biotechnological applications to sustain life below water and on land production of renewable energy, cleaning up pollutants from contaminated water, and restoring the quality of land and water through environmental bioremediation.

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The Guest Speaker, Prof. Ibrahim Katampe (Professor of Chemistry) from John W. Garland College of Engineering, Science, Technology and Agriculture, Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio. USA spoke virtually on the title: “Coastal Environmental Sustainability: An Imperative For The 21st Century Researchers”

Earlier, Dr. Olaide Adelami, the state’s Deputy Governor said the conference was timely as it x-rayed most of the challenges and problems faced in the immediate environment and ecosystem, urging students to key into discussions at the conference.

Adelami who was represented by his Chief Protocol Officer, also commended the Vice Chancellor for his developmental vision which has brought about developments in the institution’s environment saying few years to come the institution would be ranked among the best in the country and Africa.

Adelami said ,”This conference is timely because it x-rayed major challenges and problems confronting our environment and ecosystem, I also commend the Vice Chancellor for his vision and developmental strides which in no time tank it as the best in Nigeria and Africa,” Adelami said.

The Chief host of the conference, Prof. Temi Ologunorisa, Vice Chancellor, OAUSTECH, said that the Federal Government has approved deep sea port at the coastal area of Ilaje, adding that the university has established Marine Academy to produce the critical manpower to drive the blue economy.

He urged both Federal and state governments to prioritize the opportunities for possible economic growth for the state and the country at large.

Ologunorisa also said that most the the institution’s projects have been abandoned urging the the state government to do the needful for contractors handling abandoned projects to return to the site.

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The Host, Dr. Cecelia Oluwamodupe appreciated the Vice Chancellor, for giving her the opportunity, as acting Director, of OAUSTECH, Leadership Academy, and also welcomed all guests to the conference, especially those watching live on Zoom.

The academician, government functionaries, students, and staff of the institution graced the conference bankrolled by OAUSTECH.

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