The Federal Government has unveiled two policies, the National Policy on Solid Waste Management and National Policy on Plastic Management to harmonise activities and development in the sector.
Speaking at the unveiling ceremony on May 10, 2021, in Abuja, the Minister of State of Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor, said the policies were aimed at promoting the principles of circular economy by tackling the challenges of inadequate and incoherent policies which affect development and practices in the sector.
“Currently, solid waste management is one of the most pressing environmental challenges faced by urban and rural areas in Nigeria. Waste collection in Nigeria is characterised by inefficient collection methods, insufficient coverage of municipalities, inadequate recycling and indiscriminate disposal, as well as inadequate and incoherent policy, legal and regulatory framework. These practices have led to adverse health and environmental consequences.
“It is therefore imperative to develop these policies to promote the principles of circular economy which is a sustainable practice that aims at zero waste reduction as well as efficient use and reuse of resources to ensure sustainable use of plastic throughout its life cycle and the management of solid waste effectively.
“These policies in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will encourage a greater commitment from all stakeholders, provide clear guidance, job creation/poverty alleviation, waste to wealth programs, conservation of natural resources, attraction of foreign direct investment and a clean and healthier environment,” she said.
Ikeazor who was represented by the director of pollution control and environmental health, Charles Ikeah, said the policies being launched alongside the official presentation of Nigeria’s National Action Plan for the Reduction and Eventual Elimination of Mercury Use in Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) in Nigeria was developed by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in collaboration with inter-ministerial partnership between the Federal Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD), and the Ministry of Health supported by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Earlier in his remarks, the regional director and UNIDO representative to ECOWAS Union Regional Hub Nigeria, Mr Jean Bakole, described the policies and roadmap as products of an effective partnership between UNIDO and the federal government of Nigeria, adding they were counting on the excellent cooperation with federal and state governments and other key development partners to support the implementation of this plan for the reduction and eventual elimination of mercury use in the artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector in Nigeria.