• Sunday, May 19, 2024
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FG to establish National Waste Management Network to boost circular economy

A world without waste: Achieving transformative environmental change

The Federal Government has unveiled plans to establish a comprehensive National Waste Management Network, which will serve as a platform for states to collaborate, enhance their participation in the circular management of waste, and reap significant benefits through the process.

Ishaq Salako, Minister of State for Environment, said the initiative is in response to mounting concerns over environmental degradation, indiscriminate piling up of refuse by roadsides and the pressing need to transition toward a more sustainable future.

He stated this at the joint press conference in celebration of the 2024 world press freedom day, held at the national press center in Abuja themed: “A PRESS FOR THE PLANET: JOURNALISM IN THE FACE OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS.

He also said that the network will facilitate the sharing of resources, expertise, and best practices among states, and local governments and foster a cohesive approach to waste management across the country.

This, he said led to the launch of a national circular roadmap which will engage states to domesticate and serve as a framework for recycling some previously considered waste, promoting state engagement in recycling initiatives.

In addition to environmental benefits, the establishment of the network is poised to generate significant economic advantages for participating states. By streamlining waste management processes and promoting resource efficiency, states stand to reduce operational costs associated with waste disposal and landfill management.

The creation of a robust circular economy framework is expected to stimulate job growth, spur investment in green technologies, and enhance the competitiveness of domestic industries, he stated.

Salako further emphasized the need for sustainable practices and intergovernmental collaboration in promoting environmental stewardship and resource efficiency.

The Minister added that refuse littered around the country does not belong to the Federal Government, clarifying that all waste falls under state and local government responsibility.

“I can tell you that it’s a major challenge that we are confronted with. First you must realize that the federal Government does not own refuse. All refuse belong to the states and its local governments. If we are going to now turn those refuse to wealth in several ways, it means we must work very closely with states.

“For example, I can’t go to Ogun state now as minister of state environment and say I want to start recycling. Because all the refuse in Ogun state belongs to Ogun state government, so those with the responsibility have to be carried along. The federal government on the issue of waste management is to create a national network, a Platform that states can plug in for the circular management of their waste.”

He recalled the federal government, two weeks ago launched the national Circular roadmap which will now engage the states to domesticate and serve as a framework for recycling of some of the country’s previously considered waste.

“So that is the approach,” the minister stated in response to one of the questions asked at the press meeting.

According to him, at the forefront of the government’s efforts to combat the environmental crisis in the country are Nigeria’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), Long-Term Low Emission Development Strategy, commitment to achieving net zero emissions and the framework for biodiversity conservation.

He said these commitments outline the government’s path towards sustainability, emphasizing the need for collaborative action, innovation, and accountability in mitigating climate change and safeguarding the health of the planet for future generations.

He explained further that the Federal Ministry of Environment is promoting nature based solutions through tree planting, mangrove restoration, urban greening and restoring wetlands.

“We are promoting the adoption of more environmentally friendly energy sources including clean cook stoves, working hard to end gas-flaring and plastic pollution, remediating oil polluted communities, expanding our protected areas, addressing desertification, drought, flooding and erosion,” he said.

Also speaking at the briefing, Mohammed Idris, Minister of Information and National Orientation, in underscoring the crucial role of journalism in addressing environmental crisis, said that the nation is confronted by an environmental crisis of unprecedented magnitude.

He said such crisis poses a threat not only to the planet but to the very future of humanity as climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, and resource depletion are not abstract concepts; but are harsh realities that demand immediate and decisive action.

The Minister also reaffirmed the government’s commitment to defend press freedom and protect journalists by providing an enabling environment that recognizes the importance of responsible media coverage in enlightening, informing, and educating Nigerians and the world.

He said: “Through credible and timely information, everyone can be well-informed, and the media can serve as a valuable tool for fostering transparency and accountability.

“We also acknowledge the challenges that journalists face in carrying out their vital work. As environmental defenders, journalists often confront threats, harassment, and violence for their courageous efforts to expose environmental crimes and protect our natural world. As we celebrate World Press Freedom Day, we must reaffirm our unwavering commitment to protecting the rights of journalists and ensuring their safety and security.”

On his part, Abdourahamane Diallo, Head of the UNESCO Office in Abuja, representing the Director General of said that the organization remains firmly committed to defending freedom of expression as a fundamental human right and a pillar of democracy.

Diallo said a UNESCO study published this month shows that 70% of environmental reporters have been the victims of attacks, threats or pressure because of their work, and that 44 environmental journalists have been killed in the last 15 years.

He added that over the next few weeks, UNESCO will be launching initiatives specifically dedicated to environmental journalists, to provide them with greater protection and strengthen media education and information on the major social networks.

“On this day, UNESCO would like to relay a simple message. Protecting free and journalistic information also means protecting our democracies and our planet.”