The National Assembly and the Federal Ministry of Environment are said to be putting the finishing touches to a bill meant to outlaw the production of plastics in Nigeria. It was gathered that the bill is meant to protect aquatic life in the Gulf of Guinea, of which Nigeria’s territorial waters is directly linked to.
A member of the Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Sen. Tolulope Odebiyi, disclosed this in Lagos at the launch of the Maritime Action Plan for Marine Litter and Plastics Management in Nigeria. Sen. Odebiyi, who drafted the proposed bill, represented the Chairman of the committee, Sen. Danjuma Goje, at the occasion.
The lawmaker 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.
He 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. The 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 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 waste that ended up in the oceans.
Dr. Peterside 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. Making further remarks after Dr., Peterside, Sen. Odebiyi said, “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.”
He added that, “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 Chairman, House Committee on Environment, elaborated that: “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.”