The Federal Government says it has planted 6,248,240 trees between 2019 and the second quarters of 2021.
Minister of State for Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor, said this at the 15th National Council on Environment (NCE), in Abuja.
The NCE is themed: “Appraisal of the Emerging Challenges and the opportunities in the Environment Sector: A call for Actions towards the Environment of our Dream.”
Ikeazor said that the ministry had also recovered arable land of 4,792 hectares from its earlier baseline of 90 hectares in 2019 within the period under reviewed.
She said that the achievements were made through the Agency for the Great Green Wall (NAGGW), established by the government to reverse land degradation and desertification.
Ikeazor added that the agency was supporting local communities in the sustainable management and use of natural resources to reduce poverty, enhance food security and promote sustainable livelihood.
According to her, the agency has increased the number of trees (Orchards and Woodlots) planted from 1,080,000 to 5,612,400.
“In the same vein, the Federal Department of Forestry and Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN) have also increased the vegetation cover from the baseline of 155,200 trees in 2019 to 635,840 by the second quarter of 2021.
“In fulfilling this mandate, the ministry is also accelerating the implementation of the Ogoni clean-up through effective use of Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP).
“The 15.3 hectares of polluted land has so far been remediated into arable land suitable for agricultural activities in Ogoniland,” she said.
“Currently, on-going is the construction of six water supply schemes with a capacity of supplying 2,400 cubic meters (m3) of portable water per day to communities across the four council areas of Ogoniland,” Ikeazor added.
She said that the ministry was ensuring compliance with global environmental agreements through transformative strategies such as Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).
Ikeazor said that the effort was to address the adverse effects of pollution in the environment sector across the country.
She said that the EPR was a framework being implemented in three sub-sectors; electrical and electronics equipment, food and beverages, and battery waste streams.
“The goal is to formalise the activities of producers in these sectors to ensure sustainable production and consumption processes.
“Furthermore, a total of 504,280Kg of PET and e-waste plastics have been recovered for treatment in an environmentally sound manner.
“The ministry has taken positive steps towards the actualisation of the Gas Utilisation Initiative (GUI), through effective implementation of comprehensive programme on the domestic use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas,” the minister stressed.
She said that the aim of the meeting was for the council to make critical assessments on the memoranda presented with a view to realigning with green and circular approaches that would maintain the sustainability of the environment.
On his part, Malam Muhammad Bello, Minister of FCT, called for urgent need to take stock of current environmental issues and evaluate the challenges embedded to chart the best way forward in ensuring sustainable human and social development.
Bello noted a call for actions towards the environment of our dreams is therefore very relevant and certainly cannot have come at a better time than now.
“We are determined to ensure that Abuja remains an environmentally friendly city and are committed to several initiatives and programmes designed to sustain and improve on this status,” he stated.
Also speaking, the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari, urged Nigerians to act responsibly to protect the ecosystem by maintaining high air quality for environmental sustainability.
Kyari, represented by Mrs Affiong Akpasubi from the NNPC, also called on all the relevant organisations to work together to restore the planet.
“NNPC is mindful of the difficult of eliminating altogether emissions from our operations, and so a complementary solution requires carbon management to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
“For us in NNPC, we recognise that emissions from energy exploitation are changing the reliability of planet very rapidly.
“We are aware that maintaining the environment of our dream is one of the most complex global challenges of our time. I am calling on concerted international firms to take urgent actions in tackling the menace,’’ he said.
Mr Jean Bakole, Country Representation of United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), said that the organisation would continue to be committed in supporting the country in the achievement of a green and sustainable national development.
Bakole, represented by Yomi Banjo, an environmentalist in UNIDO, congratulated the ministry on the successful hosting of the National Council on Environment.
By Vivian Emoni