Clean air is a human right, and a necessary pre-condition for addressing climate change as well as achieving many Sustainable Development Goals. Air pollution does not only damage human health, it also hampers the economy in many ways.
As we approach World Environment Day with its theme of ” Air Pollution”, UN Environment’s urges the world to address this silent killer by living the 4Rs: reduce, recycle, reuse, recover; burning less, wasting less, walking more and driving less; and adopting clean technologies. Governments are encouraged to strengthen their monitoring of air quality and adhering to World Health Organisation guidelines, while leading joint actions on finance, environment, health and industry at national and city level.
“We need to bring together citizens, national and local governments, key ministries, the private sector, finance, and academia, and create new partnerships,” says UN Environment’s air quality and e-mobility focal point, Rob de Jong. “The air connects all of us and touches everything. The time to act is now!”
UN Environment is taking the lead through research, innovation and implementation of programmes that seek to tackle poor air quality. The organization is a partner in several leading global transport and energy programmes in areas such as fuel economy, short-lived climate pollutants, air quality management strategies and infrastructure development.
Breathe Life, a campaign by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, the World Health Organisation and UN Environment, is running initiatives in 55 cities, as well as numerous countries and regions, benefiting over 153 million citizens. For example, campaign partners energised the public through a sporting challenge that saw 55,000 people pledge to commute by bicycle or on foot.
Air pollution is the theme for World Environment Day on 5 June 2019. The quality of the air we breathe depends on the lifestyle choices we make every day. Learn more about how air pollution affects you, and what is being done to clean the air. What are you doing to reduce your emissions footprint and #BeatAirPollution?
The 2019 World Environment Day is hosted by China.
Minister Storms Ogoni Clean-Up Sites
The Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, last Friday, visited some clean-up sites in Ogoniland in Rivers State, and apparently expressed mixed feelings over the project, with a firm promise to visit the sites from time to time to ensure that the remediation work is delivered in accordance with the recommendations of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The minister, who was led to the sites by the Project Coordinator of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), Dr. Marvin Dekil, and his management team, among other personalities, said the clean-up project was actually making progress, as it has moved from the realm of mirage to reality and actuality, but appealed to the Ogoni people to be patient, even as they support the project to succeed.
Abubakar, who visited Lots 18 and 19 in KoroKoro Tai Community in Tai Local Government Area, Lot 2 in Ebubu Obolo Community, all in Eleme Local Government Area, said he was not going to condemn anybody or contractor yet, as he would continue with the inspection visits to the sites as well as monitor events as they unfold.
While the minister was visibly impressed with the ongoing clean-up exercise at Lots 2 and 8, he was visibly disappointed with the pace of work at Lots 18 and 19 in KoroKoro Tai Community.
This is particularly against the backdrop of the complaint made by the Gbenemene Tai and President of the Supreme Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers, King Godwin Giniwa, who alleged during a courtesy visit at his palace that his people were not being carried along in the clean-up exercise, particularly by the contractors executing the project, and stressed the need for the local people to be empowered by HYPREP.
The minister, in response, promised to look into the concerns expressed by the monarch.
While briefing the minister on the activities of HYPREP, Dr. Dekil said the process of providing potable water to inhabitants of some communities would soon be concluded, as the project was working in conjunction with the Rivers State Government in that regard, adding that it was also planning to construct a post-training facility for the people of the area.
The Project Coordinator further disclosed that sensitisation was ongoing in the four Ogoni-speaking local government areas for the training of 1,200 women in acqua culture, fish farming, poultry and other ventures, with 400 of them to be involved in the first phase of the programme, as a way of providing livelihoods for them.
The Tide’s investigation, however, revealed that the main contractors handling the clean-up project in KoroKoro Tai Community are either not on ground or have completely alienated themselves from the local people.
Some stakeholders accused them of greed, selfishness and outright wickedness.
The minister also visited a highly oil spill impacted site in B-Dere Community in Gokana Local Government Area, where he was confronted with the stark reality of the massive environmental degradation of Ogoniland. Plans are underway for 36 additional contractors to be mobilised to undertake the remediation of complex sites in the area.
UN-Habitat And Abia Metro Cities
The Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, at his Abuja lodge, recently, played host to a team of Envioronmental and Town Planning experts from the UN-Habitat African Regional Office in Kenya, led by Dr Naison Maginza Mutizwa, the UN- Habitat African Regional Director. In an information released after the meeting, by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Onyebuchi Ememanka, the thrust of the meeting was in line with the development of some metro-cities in Abia State like, Aba, Umuahia and Ohafia. Also from the CPS’ report, the Abia State Government has already provided the part funding towards the project which he said “is a collaborative effort of the Government of Abia State and the UN- Habitat.”
With the benefit of hindsight,the United Nations Human Settlement Programme, also known as the UN- Habitat, is the UN program for human settlements and sustainable urban developments established since 1978, as an outcome of the first UN sustainable urban development (Habitat 1) held in Vancouver, Canada in 1976. Its head office is in Nairobi Kenya.
The UN-Habitat is a United Nations agency that works towards a sustainable urbanisation of human settlements. Apart from her primary roles in Urban planning and design , UN-Habitat, through one of its 3 units, the Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit(RMPU), also plays key roles in National Urban policies-from “pre-feasibility diagnostic development” to the implementation, monitoring and tracking process. RMPU also helps the regional, metropolitan and city regions in the planning and development of “corridors”, “clusters” and systems of cities as well as the promotion of a green economy, smart city approach and urban- rural linkages, not excluding the spatial planning framework at metropolitan cities.
Indeed urbanisation presents some of the most significant opportunities as well as challenges in today’s world. Although cities are centres for economic growth and developments it, however, faces demographic, environmental, economic and social challenges that can mar the esctatics of any city if not properly managed.
The collaboration of the Abia State Government and the UN- Habitat is, therefore, timely and in tandem with the United Nations Agenda for sustainable development and sustainable development goal 11, which includes “to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” It will provide the desired opportunity to redesign or re-modify the cities of Aba and Umuahia in order to cushion the adverse effects of urbanization.
The adoption of the new Urban Agenda by the UN in 2016 has resulted in national, state and local governments, around the world, embarking on a transformative path towards making SDG11 a reality. That is the path Governor Ikpeazu has taken.
Apart from the way-forward meeting with the UN-Habitat team, Governor Ikpeazu has also, just few days ago, re-affirmed his determination to change the face of Aba and Umuahia.Tough decisions like procuring waste disposal compactors, declaring a state of emergency on Envioronmental Sanitation in Aba and Umuahia,unbundling of ASEPA and the sack of the non-performing GM of ASEPA,Mr Apugo, are pointers to the fact that Governor Ikpeazu is committed to transforming Abia State.
By meaningfully engaging all stakeholders and taken the lead in sanitising Abia, Governor Ikpeazu has proven, once again, that he has the ability to harness transformational changes that are capable of improving the lives of the inhabitants of Aba and Umuahia metropolis.
Regardless, Abia State, in many context, lack the capacity and the tools needed to address all the challenges posed by urbanisation, hence, the expertise that, a renowed International Agency, UN-Habitat, provides.
Flood Ravages Parts Of Rivers …AFAN Raises Alarm Over Looming Food Scarcity
Rivers State Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Comrade Ofimaobari Igwe says food scarcity looms, following the continuous ravaging of farmlands by flood in parts of the state.
As at the time of filing this report, over eight Local Government Areas are being affected by flood in the state.
The Local Governments are; Obio/Akpor, Ikwerre and Oyigbo Local Government Areas.
The rest are, Etche, Abua/Odual, Ahoada East Ahoada West and Ogba Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Areas.
Igwe told The Tide in an interview shortly after his election as Chairman of the association in Port Harcourt that farmers in the affected local government areas have lost their farms to the flood.
He stressed the need for a deliberate effort by both Federal and State Governments to rehabilitate the affected farmers, adding that farmlands are being washed by the water while thousands of fishes have escaped from ponds of those that owe them.
According to him, farmers in the flood ravaged areas are now helpless and stressed the need for a rehabilitation fund to assist the helpless farmers in the state.
Igwe who described his election as an act of God said his administration will focus on uniting farmers for a common goal.
He also promised to promote the spirit of competition among Rivers farmers, while memberships of farmers cooperative societies will be promoted.
Others are; Believe Abam, Deputy Chairman, Atubo Okumgba first Vice Chairman and Goodluck Woke ,second Vice Chairman.
Also elected are; George F. Goveday third Vice Chairman, Williams T. Aguru, Secretary, Alex Kalagbor Assistant State Secretary, Mrs. Elizabeth Alagoa State Treasurer, Charity Echebir, Financial Secretary and Kambi Taribi, Assistant Financial Secretary.
The rest are, Orukwowu O. Victor, Publicity Secretary, Bernard Godwin George, Organising Secretary, Mrs Evelyn Orisa women representative state, Gabriel Joshua, Youth leader, while Prince A.D.A, Ibuniuhuka was elected ex-officio.
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