Health hazard: FG disconnects Abuja school’s solar panels


The federal government has disabled batteries of solar panels installed at Junior Secondary School, Gui, along Airport Road in FCT over health hazards.

The directive was given to the Environmental Health Council of Nigeria (EHCON) by the Minister of Environment, Muhammad Abdullahi, following hazardous emissions of substance from some of the solar batteries.

Dr Andy Ukah, Deputy Registrar, EHCON, representing the EHCON Registrar, Mohammed Yakubu at the inspection of the solar batteries on Monday in Abuja, said the emission was capable of causing health hazards to the school and entire community.

Ukah, also the National Coordinator, National Institute of Environmental Health, described the incidence as a public health issue that deserved urgent attention.

“The Minister of Environment directed the council to investigate solar panel batteries emitting substances capable of causing health hazards to the people and Gui community.

“The incidence occurred on Thursday whereby some solar batteries in the school were emitting smoke,’’ he said.

Rahmatu Nusa, Director, Junior Secondary Schools, FCT Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB), attributed the problem to swollen batteries resulting from continuous charging of the batteries without discharging energy.

According to her, the incident occurred on Thursday, and immediately, the batteries were switched off.

Dr Fatima Mohammed, Environmental Health Officer and Air Quality Monitoring Consultant, EHCON, identified potential dangers of the emission as irritation to skin, eyes, nose and the throat.

She said chronic long-term exposure could lead to diseases of the lung, confusion, and brain damage.

According to her, in plants, it can lead to corroding of the chlorophyll, causing stunted growth of plants, among others.

Also, Kingsley Nwigwe, an engineer with W. Wireless Mechatronics identified possible cause of swollen batteries as the usage of bad ones.

“The system has charged controller that regulated the charging system, in as much as the battery is used, it replaces the energy being used and can never over charged.

“However bad ones keep receiving energy, they never get filled up, so it gets swollen if they are over charged,’’ he said.

Nwigwe, however, advised on routine inspection of solar batteries “specifically every three months, to avoid endangering the lives of the populace.

The principal of the school, Adamu Danlami, said that while on official duty, the staff alerted him that the panel suddenly stopped working and noticed emission of smoke from the battery.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 48 panels were far installed in the school so far.

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