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FG plans Bill to ban plastics

·       To eliminate land-based marine litter sources in 5 years

·      As NIMASA launches Action Plan on marine litter, plastics management

L-R: Chairman, House Committee on Maritime, Safety and Education, Hon. Linda Ikeazor; Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside; Head, Marine Environment Management, NIMASA, Dr. (Mrs). Felicia Mogo, Minister of State for Environment, Barrister Sharon Ikeazor; and Senator Tolulope Odebiyi at the official launch of the Maritime Action Plan for maritime litter and plastic management held in Lagos.

The National Assembly and the
Federal Ministry of Environment are putting the finishing touches to a bill
meant to prohibit the production of plastics, which pollute the environment. 

A
member of the Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Senator Tolulope Odebiyi,
disclosed this in Lagos at the launch of the Maritime Action Plan for Marine
Litter and Plastics Management in Nigeria.

Odebiyi, the drafter of the
proposed bill, who represented the chairman of the committee, Senator Danjuma
Goje, said the bill would be harmonised with input from the Federal Ministry of
Environment to make a holistic law that would impose tough sanctions on the
production of organic polymers.

L-R: Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside; Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Dr. Sokonte Davies; Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Environment and Habitat, Hon. Johnson Oghuma; Chairman, House Committee on Maritime, Safety and Education, Hon. Linda Ikeazor; Minister of State for Environment, Barrister Sharon Ikeazor; Representative of Minister of Transportation / Director, Maritime Safety, Federal Ministry of Transportation, FMOT, Mr Paul Adalikwu; and others at the official launch of the Maritime Action Plan for maritime litter and plastic management held in Lagos.

Odebiyi stressed that the
National Assembly was solidly behind the Nigerian Maritime Administration and
Safety Agency (NIMASA) in the presentation and implementation of the action
plan, which envisions the elimination of land-based sources of marine litter
within five years.

Chairman, House of
Representatives Committee on Environment, Hon Johnson Oghuma, also stressed the
lower chamber’s commitment to a cleaner environment.


Oghuma said the House was always
prepared to assist the executive in the implementation of government policies.

The Director-General of NIMASA,
Dr. Dakuku Peterside, lamented that Nigeria was among the 20 countries
generating more than 80 per cent of the land-based plastic wastes that end up
in the oceans.

Dakuku said the event was
organised to raise public awareness about the deleterious effects of marine
pollution and chart a national roadmap on solution to the menace.

“I am happy NIMASA has taken the
lead in ensuring that our waterways and all our water bodies are clean, safe,
and a vital source of economic activity for us in this country,” Odebiyi
stated.

He added, “I drafted a bill with
regard to plastic pollution and proliferation of plastics in the country. The
issue is getting to an alarming state.

“NIMASA has taken the lead. But
this is the backend of it. We also have to look at the frontend. We are
spending billions of naira tiding up the environment; we also have people
making billions of naira contributing to this menace. That is where the bill is
aiming. 



“You cannot continue to generate pollution, clog our waterways, cause
erosion, flooding and all kinds of things, and some people are making money,
knowing fully well that their product is contributing to the pollution.”

The senator also said, “The
Senate is very much interested in this issue. We see the environment as a vital
economic resource for us in this country. We will be working with NIMASA,
Federal Ministry of Environment, and all the other agencies.”

The House Committee on
Environment chairman spoke in a similar vein. “We are ready, and by the grace
of God, I represent the Speaker in the Committee on Environment. 



“Every
legislation on the environment is jealously guarded by the committee. I urge
everybody, wherever you are, behave like NIMASA, help us to save our
environment,” Oghuma stated.

Dakuku prefaced his welcome
address with two grisly true-life stories that underscored the dangers of
marine litter and the need for urgent action. He then stated, “We all know that
solutions to this global challenge are multiple and require consideration of a
systematic approach to the various sources generating the pollution, both land-
and sea-based contributors, and a combination of intervention in different
sectors and at different levels.”

He said the action plan was aimed
at setting a national roadmap for tackling pollution, especially from shipping
related activities; identifying specific actions that need to be taken by
different parties to eliminate marine litter and plastics; strengthening
stakeholder collaborations in tackling marine litter and plastics pollution;
and establishing a template for monitoring progress in the fight against marine
litter and plastics pollution.

Other objectives of the action
plan, according to Dakuku, are to operationalise and complement the IMO Action
Plan on Marine Litter from Ships; and enhance the enforcement of existing laws,
conventions and regulations, including MARPOL-Annex V, London Convention and
its Protocol, and the Nigerian Merchant Shipping Act 2007.

Dakuku listed actions already
taken by NIMASA, which has the responsibility of ensuring clean seas and oceans
in Nigeria, to include engagement of Marine Litter Marshals across coastal
communities and littoral areas as a pilot scheme to clean up identified Marine
Litter Hotspots. Marine litter sensitisation campaigns have also been carried
out in several littoral communities, he stated.

In her own remarks, the Minister
of State for Environment, Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor, sued for synergy among relevant
government agencies and the private sector in the fight against environmental
pollution.



 Ikeazor, said the ministry would establish more recycling plants for
the collection of plastics and other litter that would be cleared from the
oceans.

“You have started right with
sensitisation of our people on what to do with plastics. The Ministry of
Environment will definitely support NIMASA. We will take this further and put
it together to be a national action plan,” she stated.

The highpoint of the event was
the unveiling of the Maritime Action Plan for Marine Litter and Plastics
Management in Nigeria by the representative of the Minister of State for
Transportation, Senator Gbemi Saraki, Dr. Paul Adalikwu.

Other dignitaries at the launch
included the chairman, House Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and
Administration, Hon. Lynda Ikpeazu; Sokoto State Commissioner for Environment,
Attahiru Bafarawa; and Yobe State Commissioner for Environment, Hon. Sidi
Yakubu; Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Nigerian Ports Authority
(NPA), Dr. Sokonte Davies; and representatives of private sector organisations,
including VSF, an environment company, and Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance
(FBRA).

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