NESREA to curb hazardous waste imports

The Nigerian government has promised to intensify the implementation of the Toxic Waste Dump Watch Programme to control illegal trans-boundary movement and importation of hazardous waste into the country.

Dr Lawrence Anukam, the Director-General of National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), said this in Abuja.

Anukam said that adequate mechanisms had been put in place to control such illegal movement and import of hazardous waste, including electronic waste (e-waste), in the country.

He said that NESREA was collaborating with various governments and international organisations to ensure that Nigeria did not become a dumping ground for e-waste shipped in from other countries.

Anukam said that the agency individually initiated the National Dump Watch Programme to facilitate the achievement of designed plans to stamp out illegal trans-boundary movement and importation of hazardous waste in the country.

The agency had partnered with all the key security agencies nationwide to ensure that the importation of harmful waste, including e-waste, into the country is controlled. The surveillance is an ongoing project; whenever we receive alert that a ship, which is coming from one country or the other to Nigeria, is likely carrying some hazardous waste; we swiftly move into action,” he said.

When such alert comes in, we quickly activate our national dump watch committee which includes the Customs, the Police, the Navy and National Ports Authority, among others. The security agencies will follow it up to make sure that they get the name of the ship, the numbers and other information about the ship. It is through this process that we will be able to track down the ship ferrying illegal items into the country; we will, therefore, intercept it and send it back to its port of origin. We believe that it is unethical to ship hazardous e-waste to developing countries from developed countries under any guise whatsoever,’’ he said.

The director-general pledged that NESREA would ensure the enforcement of the extant regulations on e-waste in the country.

He stressed that Nigeria was signatory to the Basel Convention on Transitory Movement of Hazardous Waste.

He noted that the convention was an international treaty on the trans-boundary movement of hazardous waste and other chemical waste.

Anukam said that Nigeria would continue to participate actively in all regional or global processes and efforts aimed at promoting environmentally sound management of wastes and chemicals.

He said that the agency would honour the obligations and commitments in all the multilateral agreements, which the Federal Government had entered into.

He however, called on relevant stakeholders, regulatory organisations, law enforcement and security agencies to improve on their service delivery with regard to the management of environmental issues.