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Eko Clean Air: Lagos advocates circular economy, environmental sustainability

Lagos State Government has expressed commitment to building the foundation of a circular economy in the state as well as advocating for environmental sustainability.

Tunji Bello
Tunji Bello, Lagos State Commissioner for The Environment & Water Resources

Mr Tunji Bello, Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, stated this on Saturday, August 27, 2022, in Lagos while delivering a keynote address at the official unveiling of the “Eko Clean Air” project at Itedo community.

Represented by Dr Tajudeen Gaji, Permanent Secretary, Environmental Services, Bello said that he was excited to bring the advocacy on circularity and environmental sustainability to Itedo community in Lekki.

He said that the advocacy was a very clear and important sentiment expressed across multiple UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) goals, under the states localised initiative, with the theme “Eko for Clean Air”.

“I commend the commitment and foresight of progressive partners for their strategic support and fostering of a sense of mutual partnership with the government on the sustainability of the environment.

“And the need for a truly pragmatic circular economy approach.

“This is a true demonstration and testament of the company, being an eco-conscious and eco-warrior body,” Bello said.

While citing the UN Environment Programme, Bello said that environmental sustainability through a circular economy involved making life choices that ensured an equal, if not better way of life for future generations.

“And the reduction of waste to a minimum by reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling existing materials and products.

“Environmental sustainability aims to improve the quality of human life without putting unnecessary strain on the earth’s supporting ecosystems.

“Over the years, environmental pollution has taken centre stage a major concern of the new civilised world, with far-reaching impacts on human health and the environment.

“Human activities no matter how little, have an impact from the use of solid fuels such as charcoal, waste plastics, firewood usage etc. to massive industrial processes.

“All these contribute a major part to the current unsustainable state of our shared environment,” Bello said.

While citing the World Bank and World Health Organisation, Bello noted that air pollution was considered a major environmental and health threat with an increasing economic burden.

According to him, the worst impacts of air pollution are felt in our informal and small-scale industries as well as our most vulnerable populations.

“Therefore, the concept and implementation of a circular economy are necessitated not only due to the ongoing environmental insults caused by improper handling and disposal of various trade effluents.

“Including plastics, waste oil and oily waste, waste electronics and electrical waste within the state.

“Also, to showcase the clear tenets of waste to value as a socio-economic pollution control mechanism which can stimulate new businesses with huge economic potential from an otherwise unwanted item or trade effluent,” Bello said.

The commissioner said that the state, in its bid to combat environmental pollution and encourage sustainable development, has charged LASEPA with the responsibility of setting and enforcing environmental standards.

He added that LASEPA was also vested with the responsibility of adopting a proactive approach to environmental protection, promoting a circular economy, and ensuring that all state’s environmental resources are consumed in a sustainable manner.

“Today, the Lagos State Government, in partnership with key stakeholders is proud to unveil an inclusive answer and intervention to these questions with the aim of advocating, educating, sensitising, and enfranchising you all today.

“Through this collaboration, we are going further, by directly rewarding you for practicing circular and sustainable processes:

“And phasing out the abuse of the environment from the use of such as charcoal burning, bush burning, firewood usage and others through the ‘Switch 2 Gas’ initiative and also encourage you to appropriately handle various trade effluent through the newly introduced incentivised initiative ‘Trash for Cash’.

“These seed initiatives are intended to be distributed across the 57 LCDAs in Lagos State with the aim of constantly collecting and acting on community-based scientific and social data.

“To guide the provision of harmonised interventions and accountable systems as regard to incentivised pollution control in partnership with our fulfilment partners Messrs. Ecocycle, WasteExchange and MRI, Touch and Pay Solutions, RDD Associates Limited,” Bello said.

He said that ensuring a seamless interface with communities and adopting a truly granular approach by adapting global best standards on circularity and sustainability to the unique Lagos ecosystem is a key expected outcome.

“We believe this would not only leverage the over N400 million that statistically moves in value in plastics alone in Lagos State daily.

“But also encourage standardised practices and handling of other trade effluents of economic potential with the direct economic benefits across the entire stakeholder value web.

“The state celebrates this as a step in the right direction, with due consideration for inclusion and in the spirit of collaboration we reiterate the shared duty we all owe to cultivate eco-friendly habits in our homes, communities, and business.

“As such, we encourage our private sector and strategic development partners to adopt similar projects under these initiatives, with the aim of seeding a mindset change as well as combating business as usual practices from a truly bottom-up and sustainable approach,” Bello said.

By Fabian Ekeruche

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