Experts urge FG to implement environmental laws
Experts have urged the federal government to implement environmental laws. This was said in an excursion held in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital for participants of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) funded project tagged “Deploying the Power of IT-Engaged Youths in Effective Plastic Use and Waste Management”,
The visit was to the Gwoza dump site (the final disposal site of all solid waste that comes from the city centre and its environs) and according to the facilitators, it was aimed at properly enlightening the participants on the disposal of waste in Abuja, and to task their minds on more innovative ways to deal with plastic waste management. One of the facilitators, who doubled as the site manager, Engineer Francis Agbarakwe, revealed that the site covered waste in the city centre and outside the city centre to discourage pockets of open dump.
He explained: “Abuja Environmental Protection Board covers waste collection in the city centre but at the final disposal site, we allow waste that comes from the environs outside the city centre to prevent open dumping. Basically, on a daily average, we record about 900 to 1000 tons of waste. The scavengers loitering around also help in reducing the waste span by taking away some of the recyclables and reselling them.
“We brought the participants here so they can see what we explain to them in their lecture hall; they can now see it practically. It doesn’t appear fantastical although the government is doing its best but more can still be done.”
One of the brains behind the project and the Managing Director of Pearls Learning Hub, the host centre of the participants, Engr. Adeolu Odusola, tasked the government and residents to do more in their attitudes to waste management.
He added that while the government strive to be intentional in implementing environmental laws, the residents should also play their part.
In his words: “Well, I hope people know what this place is. It is the Gwoza site where all waste in Abuja is dumped. I hardly can open my mouth to talk because a fly can jump inside if I am not careful. You can see how smelly and untidy it is. But that is who we are, this is the best that we have right now in Abuja, the flagship of Nigeria. If you go to Lagos, it is the same thing; it shows that there is so much that we are not doing right as a people in Nigeria.
“When you come here, you see the consequence of the value that we exhibit, the values of carelessness. Who cares about managing things? Who cares about doing things right? The waste here can be recycled into products that can generate millions of naira. They have not been handled properly; that is the reason I am so glad that I am seeing young people who are the future of this country, hoping they take the right decision instead of leaving the country.
“They come together to think out ways to solve these problems and that is why we have this project we are currently on with the UNDP through the Small Grant Project we are trusting that in the next few weeks, these youths will do better. I am really waiting to see the suggestions. The government should not just make environmental laws but also see to their implementation. A lot more can be done like getting things more organized, training people right from basic school and putting collector bins for easy waste disposal.”
A courtesy visit was made to the office of the director of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board. Zainab Umar, Director Environment Conservation, on behalf of the Board, lauded the aim of the project and urged the participants to uphold all that has been thought in the cause of the excursion.
One of the participants, Ogoche Victor, expressed his excitement at the excursion. He said: … I am inspired into creating a situation where picking waste will be very exciting. It becomes fun not a norm. I call on the government to be intentional with implementing laws that protect our environment.”
Another participant, Naomi Asogwa, revealed her intention to extend her newfound knowledge to her school colleagues. In her words: “I am a student and I am pleased to be part of this. Growing up I have never liked the idea of littering the environment. But I wasn’t bold enough to tell other people around me not to do it, but this program has instilled in me boldness. I am confident enough to talk to both my fellow students and elders on the need to properly dispose of solid waste.”