To cut the tide of proliferation of plastic waste materials in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Environment is preparing a new National Plastic Management policy.
Minister of State for Environment, Mr Ibrahim Jibrin, made this known at the 2018 National Health Advancement Conference organised by Help Keep Clean Foundation on Thursday, October 25, 2018 in Abuja.
The minister was represented at the Conference by Mr Dominic Abonyi, Registrar of the Environmental Health Registration Council of Nigeria.
He said the new policy would give guidance on the course of action for the relevant stakeholders in mitigating the alarming spread of single use plastic, used daily nationwide.
He noted that Nigeria was faced with diverse environmental challenges ranging from desertification, draught, erosion and pollution.
The minister said the environmental challenges presents with other hazards such as biological, chemical, ergonomic and physical which threaten human survival and development efforts of Nigerians by inflicting injuries, causing diseases and psychosocial disorders.
He said the environmental challenges encumber production potentials of industrial and agricultural sectors and trigger socio-cultural conflict if not properly managed.
He underscored the need for “re-awakening national awareness on environmental health hazards and safety” as echoed by the theme of the conference.
Earlier, Ms Chikezie Ijeoma, the Convener of the conference and Founder, Help Keep Clean Foundation, an NGO, said the conference would explore innovative strategies and pathways at ensuring healthy environment across Nigeria.
“We have converged to engage a relative discourse on the theme: Re-awakening national awareness on environmental health hazards and safety. It is a campaign that set new agenda as an intervention to environmental challenges in Nigeria.”
Mr Mike Omotosho, Founder, Mike Omotosho Foundation, and Chairman of the occasion, said the increasing environmental pollution in the society should be at the forefront and source of concern for the nation.
As a public health enthusiast, Omotosho described the environmental challenges in Nigeria as “a potential tsunami”.
“While most of us feel helpless in matters of national interest, environmental pollution is another area where we can personally influence what is happening and bring about the desired change,’’ he said.
He added that biggest factor for immense concern was the increase in carbon dioxide level due to emissions from fossil fuel and other factors such as land use, ozone layer depletion, agriculture and deforestation, among others.
“Because of the peculiar nature of our nation now, deforestation due animal grazing is one of the burning issues and of national concern.
“Livestock is responsible for 18 per cent of world greenhouse gas emission as measured in carbon dioxide equivalent.
“This include land use change, meaning deforestation in order to create grazing land; as much as 70 per cent deforestation was to make way for grazing lands,’’ he said.
He said that in addition to carbon dioxide emissions, livestock was responsible for 65 per cent of human induced emissions.
He added that livestock also produce 35 per cent of human induced methane which has 25 per cent global warming potential of carbon dioxide.
“From these figures, we must therefore keep in mind that all forms of pollution that affect our natural environment will end up having long term effect thereby making life in such areas unsafe for future generations,’’ he said.
“The theme of the conference could not have come at a better time than now.
“Indeed, we can all play a role in preserving our environment starting with our immediate community, not just for our self but for future generation,’’ he said.
Highlight of the event include special recognition awards to the wife of the President of the Senate, Mrs Toyin Saraki, and Mr Mike Omotosho, among other Nigerians.
The unveiling of a book titled “Tom and his hand washing friends”, authored by the convener, also featured at the occasion.
By Mustapha Yauri