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In line with recent proposals by certain governmental authorities and industry stakeholders to eliminate the use of plastics and plastic wastes in their economies, the National Assembly (NASS) and the Federal Ministry of Environment in Nigeria are fine-tuning a fresh bill to prohibit the production of plastics that pollute the environment.
 Senator Tolulope Odebiyi, a member of the Senate Committee on Marine Transport, disclosed the plan in Lagos at the launch of the Maritime Action Plan for Marine Litter and Plastics Management in Nigeria.
Senator Odebiyi, the drafter of the proposed bill, who represented Senator Danjuma Goje, Chairman of the committee, said the bill would be harmonised with input from the Federal Ministry of Environment to make a holistic law that would impose strong sanctions on the production of organic polymers in the economy.
The Senator 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 that plans the elimination of land-based sources of marine litter in five years.
Hon Johnson Oghuma, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Environment, also emphasised that the Lower Chamber’s commitment to a cleaner environment.
Oghuma said the House was always prepared to assist the Executive arm in the implementation of government policies.
Dr. Dakuku Peterside, Director-General of NIMASA, 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 harmful effects of marine pollution and chart a national roadmap on the 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 full well that their products are contributing to the pollution,” he stated.
According to him, “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.”
“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.
Earlier, Dakuku prefaced his welcome address with two horrific true-life stories that underscored the dangers of marine litter and the need for urgent action.
He said the action plan was aimed at setting a national roadmap for tackling pollutions, 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.
Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor, Honourable Minister of State for Environment, also urged 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.
The highpoint of the event attended by several dignitaries was the unveiling of the Maritime Action Plan for Marine Litter and Plastics Management in Nigeria by Dr. Paul Adalikwu, who represented Senator Gbemi Saraki, Honourable Minister of State for Transportation.



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