Nigeria will place a total ban on single-use plastic products in 2025 if proposals being tinkered with eventual see the light of the day.
However, between now and the targeted date, what looks like a temporary prohibition of the use of the globally contentious material will be in place.
This notion formed one of the resolutions at the 13th National Council on Environment (NCE) that held from November 19 to 21, 2019 in Kaduna, Kaduna State.
Council resolved that it has become imperative for the federal and state officials to embark on advocacy and sensitisation on the adverse effects of single-use plastic materials. It thus advised that a moratorium of five years be given before the ban in order to formulate Policy Guidelines on Single-Use Plastic Waste Management in the country.
In a similar vein, the gathering wants state governments to adopt and implement the provisions of the National Health Care Waste Management Policy (NHCWMP) and its guidelines to prevent the menacing health care waste problem.
In the bid to curb the environmental challenges nationwide and consequently increase Nigeria’s forest cover, the forum re-affirmed the need for the planting of 25 million tree seedlings in the country.
Concerns were raised over the activities of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), which is coordinating the controversial clean-up of Ogoniland in the restive Niger Delta.
While commending the Federal Government for setting up the body, government was urged to properly supervise its operation to ensure the actualisation of its objectives.
While urging all relevant agencies to effectively manage and monitor the release of excess water from dams to curb the adverse effects, Council identified the need to escalate the Web Based Flood Early Warning Systems (FEWS) presently providing predictions in 302 locations in Nigeria to cover the whole country as a result of the recent nationwide flood disaster.
It likewise emphasised the need to promote de-silting and dredging of Nigeria river systems in order to improve upon their flood carrying capacity and ameliorate perennial flooding along the riverine communities in the country.
Chaired by the Minister of Environment, Dr. Muhammad Mahmood Abubakar, the NCE had “Promoting Environmental Advocacy for Sustainable Development: A Panacea for Achieving the Next Level Agenda” as its theme.
While Dr Abubakar delivered the keynote address, the opening remarks of the Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, was delivered by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote.
Thereafter, goodwill messages were received from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu (represented by the Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator Hassan Ibrahim Hadejia); Chairman of the House Committee on Environment, Johnson Oghuma (represented by Suleiman Aliu Lere, Chairman of the House Committee on Climate Change); Mohammud Ibrahim Bukar and the former Minister of Environment, Hajiya Hadiza Mailafia.
The NCE was declared open by Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Hajiya (Dr.) Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe.
Some other resolutions of the NCE were:
- The need for Ecological Funds Office (EFO) to support the Federal Ministry of Environment to fund some major ecological remediation projects across the nation;
- Reiterated the need for Federal Ministry of Environment to collaborate with states on modalities towards the establishment of renewable energy facilities in order to consider the drive for cities to be powered by cleaner energy sources;
- Agreed to forward the 2019 National Forest Policy Documents to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval in order to guide for Sustainable Forest Management in the country; and,
- The Federal Ministry of Environment should commence the immediate implementation of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Plans, Policies and Programmes of the Government of Nigeria.