Beat Air Pollution” “Take Action” was the Theme and sub theme of the just concluded world environment Day Celebration across the World.
Although the celebration has come and gone, the message has underscored the need for policy makers across the world to take action against acts that continuously pollute the air.
A statement on the website of the United Nations described the annual celebration as a way of encouraging worldwide awareness and action with a view to protecting our environment.
The World Environment Day is celebrated 5th of June every year, across the world.
The event was first celebrated in 1974. This year’s edition was hosted by China.
Rivers State Government was not left out in the celebration as the occasion coincided with the inauguration of a technical committee to address the problem of soot, a black substance that has polluted the State air wave for a long time.
In the same vein, the Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Environment, Dr. Emmanuel Urang had in a broadcast on the occasion of the World Environment Day celebration, drew the attention of the world to the associated illnesses of air pollution.
According to the Permanent Secretary, air pollution is associated with a broad spectrum of acute chronic illnesses such as lung cancer, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD) and cardiovascular diseases.
“As urban air quantity declines, the risk of stroke, heart diseases, lung cancer, and chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma, increases for the people who live there”.
Urang, however, said that with the inauguration of the technical committee, by the State Governor Nyesom Wike, the final stage has now been set to promote a green economy in a healthy and sustainable environment.
The Rivers State Government was not alone in the celebration of the World Environment Day: a number of Civil Society Organisations in the State actively participated in this year’s celebration.
The Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) in a statement by its President, Legborsi Pyagbara, urged for action to check the rising level of air pollution, especially in the Niger Delta.
The MOSOP President stressed the need for government to match its words with action by arresting all incidences of air pollution in the country.
Similarly, the Coordinator of Stop the Soot Campaign, Dr. Eugene Abel, also led some groups to plant trees along the Elelenwo/Akpajo road.
Also as part of effort to instill the culture of cleanliness and to keep the air free from pollution, the African Global Development for Positive Change Initiative (ADI) also organised A Clean Environment Campaign at the Rumuokoro main market to instill the virtue of cleanliness among the traders in the market.
ADI was joined in the campaign by another non governmental organisation, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Initiative in the Clean Environment Campaign at the Rumuokoro main market.
Speaking in an interview with The Tide, the African Regional Director of African Global Development for Positive Change Initiative (ADI), Prince Dan Mbachi described “Beat Air Pollution” the theme of the celebration as significant especially in the Niger Delta region where the incidences of Air Pollution are common.
Mbachi said that the presence of the Petroleum industry in the Niger Delta has made survival difficult for the inhabitants of the region as their air, water and land sources have been polluted.
He also said that the Proliferation of illegal oil bunkering in the region has increased the level of pollution of the Niger Delta’s environment.
The activist stressed the need for the United Nation’s and African Union (AU) to set up committees on climate change in the Niger Delta.
Mbachi also called for the speedy cleanup of the Ogoni environment and commended the Rivers State Government for inaugurating a technical committee to find solution to the soot.
Also speaking, Madam Loretta Ahuokpeme of our lady of Perpetual Help Initiative said that a clean environment will make the air clean and free of pollution.
Ahuokpeme stressed the need for both Rivers and Niger Delta people to use the opportunity provided by this year’s World Environment Day celebration by keeping their environment clean at all times.
According to her, the celebration has provided the opportunity for her organisation to demonstrate how people can be involved in keeping their environment clean.
The activist also stressed the need for a policy against plastic production while proper waste disposal habit should be cultivated and described sanitation as key to a cleaner air.
Also speaking, with The Tide, Mrs. Helen Ohaka of the Rivers State Ministry of Environment, stressed the need for a tougher action against illegal oil bunkering and bush burning.
She said that the Rivers State Ministry of Environment will continue to support every action that will promote clean environment in the State.
Other respondent also called for stiffer penalties against persons and corporate organizations involved in activities that cause air pollution.
Rivers State is having its fair share of air pollution in the country. The appearance of the soot three years ago was indication of the level of damages which the hydrocarbon industry has done to the state.
We’re Hopeful Of Passage Of Water Resources Bill -Minister
The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, has expressed hope over the passage of the National Water Resources Bill before the National Assembly.
Adamu expressed the optimism while answering questions on the sidelines of a two-day training for Water Resources Correspondents, Editors, and News Analysts in the Nigerian Water Sector’ with theme, ‘Reporting Water in its Perspective’.
The Tide source reports that the training is to build capacity of reporters on water resources sector by having deep knowledge of terminologies and issues in the water sector.
The Tide also recalls that the Bill, which was introduced in the 8th Assembly, caused outrage as some Nigerians interpreted the law as a power grab by the federal Government.
“It is part of our roadmap as far as I am concerned. We will continue to engage with the National Assembly, now that they have come back from recess, we hope to engage.
“At the same time, we are talking to all other antagonists to allay the fears to accommodate whatever apprehension. We are very confident that we’ll get that bill passed,” the minister said.
He further stated that it was wrong for a section of Nigerians to completely criticize and condemn the whole Bill instead of pointing out areas that needs to be reconsidered.
“It doesn’t make sense if you have problem with the Bill; identify the key issue or problem if there is need for amendment instead to completely condemn just because of one or two items you are not satisfied with.
“In the National Assembly, you have public hearing, and we will still go back,” the minister said.
Community Residents Flay Dumping Of Sachets, Bottles In Drainages
Some residents of Eneka Community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State have condemned the indiscriminate dumping of water sachets and bottles in drainages and along the road in the community.
Speaking in an interview with The Tide in the community, they said the situation is not only an eyesore but responsible for incessant flooding being witnessed in the community.
Mr Chibuike Adim, indigene of Rumuoji Eneka condemned the practice, adding that it is this practice that blocked the gutters and caused flashed flooding in some areas in the community.
Adim called on the state government to save the community from the practice by constituting the tax force to check this habit.
He also said those who engaged in this practice are not only uneducated but also foolish, stressing that such people must be dealt with according to the law.
Also speaking, Miss Patience Odum also condemned the practice but added that there is no designated refuse dump site in the community.
Odum also urged for the provision of refuse receptacle in the area while the Rivers State Waste Management agency (RIWAMA) should also monitor the activities of the people.
Also speaking, Miss Alice Nsikak, a student of Rivers State University said the practice has become a big problem to the community as the entire drainages are blocked.
She stressed the need for sensitisation of the residence against the practice.
Nsikak also called on government to improve the method of refuse collection by providing waste bin to homes on the streets.
According to her, “people could be asked to pay little amount of money every month”, adding that the proposal will check the menace as well as check flash flooding in the community.
Also speaking with The Tide, Mr Ndubuise Ogom confirmed that dumping of plastic materials, refuge and pure water sachets in the drains is a very common practice in Eneka and also felt very bad about this practice.
This practice, added, must be stopped by government by promulgating laws to punish offenders. This if done, will prevent people taking part in such practice. He suggested, a fine of N1000 be slammad on those dumping refuge and plastic containers in the gutter.
By: Oribim Nyanaa Ibama, Elendu Obochi Esther & Inimgba Favour Victor
UNESCO Laments Impending Collapse Of Biodiversity …Says Human Survival At Risk
The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has raised alarm at the unprecedented speed which biodiversity is collapsing globally.
The Director-General of UNESCO Ms Audrey Azoulay, expressed this concern at the UNESCO 33rd session of the the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB-ICC) Programme in Abuja.
Biodiversity refers to the variety of life on earth at all its levels, from genes to ecosystems, and can encompass the evolutionary, ecological, and cultural processes that sustain
The director-general said that with the impending collapse, not only was human survival at risk, but also the beauty and the diversity of the world.
She said that the collapse was from the treetops to the ocean depths and from vertebrates to invertebrates, adding that no species was spared.
“This is the spirit driving UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme. It is what makes it so pioneering and so valuable.
“We all have to stand on the earth itself and go with her at her pace. With this impending collapse, not only is human survival at risk, but also the beauty, the diversity of the world.
“But this collapse is not inevitable: there is still time to make peace with the planet,” she said.
According to her, there is the conviction that we can re-forge our relationship with nature, that we can reconcile development and environmental protection.
“We must harness the power of education to rebuild our relationship with nature. UNESCO is fully mobilised to ensure that the environment becomes a key curriculum component by 2025.
“This is in line with the commitment made by the 80th governments we gathered at the Berlin conference last May.
UNESCO, a custodian of knowledge and know-how concerning biodiversity, has been developing concrete solutions to environmental challenges for over 50 years through the MAB programme and its network of protected sites, covering nearly six per cent of the planet.
With 714 biosphere reserves in 129 countries, including transboundary sites, UNESCO seeks to reconcile humans and nature and demonstrate that it is possible to use biodiversity sustainably while fostering its conservation.
The Minister of State for Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor, said that the world was facing planetary crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.
According to her, this global loss of biodiversity is threatening the security of the world’s food supplies and the livelihoods of millions of people including indigenous people and local communities, especially in the African region.
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