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World Bank, FG Move To Tackle Environmental Challenges

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The Federal Government, in collaboration with World Bank, has launched the Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes (ACReSAL) Project, to address environmental challenges in Nigeria’s North.
Alhaji Mohammed Abdullahi, Minister of Environment, at the Pre-launch Mission of the World Bank on Sunday in Abuja, said that the project would last for five to six years.
Abdullahi assured Nigerians that the project would be effectively implemented, adding that all documentations on the project would get to the World Bank as soon as possible.
He said that with the collaboration of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Water Resources and also the World Bank support, the objective of the project must be achieved.
According to him, the project is very important, as it will also address water stress system and restore the loss lands, thereby, making the lands reproductive for agriculture.
“The project will as well tackle environmental challenges such as climate change, erosion system, biodiversity, among others.
“We thank the world bank for initiating this project, and I am assuring you that from the Ministry of Environment, we will do all the best we can to implement the project.
“We will ensure that the political will to drive this project, in accordance with the mandates and its objectives, are achieved.
“We are going to make sure that various governors at the state levels deliver on the objectives of the project.
“I have instructed the national project coordinator to ensure that all the documentations that are needed by the world bank to declare the effectiveness of the project, reach the world bank latest by April 15.”
The minister said that the ministry had also established a project tracker system in the office, adding that the system would enhance the achievement of the project
He, however, urged all the governors, commissioners and other relevant stakeholders, to support in the implementation of the project through strong cooperation and commitment.
Chief Sharon Ikeazor, Minister of State, Ministry of Environment said that collective action in the implementation of the project, would bring positive result.
Ikeazor said if the project was implemented effectively, about 70 per cent of environmental issues would be solved in the states.
“We are ready to implement the project, with the two ministers we are working with, I think it will enhance execution of the project.
“This project is a big one and it is a project that Nigeria is privileged to have, I want to thank the world bank team and the three ministries, for their strong support and commitment to the implementation of the project,” she said.
The World Bank Country Director to Nigeria, Mr Shubham Chaudhuri, said that the bank would continue to support Nigeria to ensure that the objective of the project was achieved.
“The world bank team remained committed in this project, but I want to appeal to governments at all levels to ensure that the team and other people in the field are protected.
“The government should ensure that all kinds of insecurity is tackled in the areas to enable people concentrate and do the job effectively.
Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State, who spoke on behalf of other governors said that the project would benefit all the people in the states.
“We are happy and grateful to have this laudable project that will curb poverty and address environmental challenges in our state.
“We as governors, will ensure that we support the world bank team and the Federal Government in ensuring that insecurity is tackled efficiently in the states,” Sule said.
Also speaking, Dr Mamood Abubakar, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, explained that the project was initiated by the world bank when he was the minister of the environment.
“I have great passion about this project because I know that it will change lives of many people and the various communities in the states for good.
“This project will improve livelihoods of the people; therefore it requires careful planning, good management and commitment from everyone,” Abubakar said.
Dr Suleman Adamu, Minister of Water Resources, urged all the states, local governments, and other beneficiaries of the project to claim ownership of the project for sustainability.
“The state governors and the people of all the states should ensure that the efforts of the world bank and the Federal Government will not be a waste.
“There is a need to secure the project and ensure that its benefits are realised,” Adamu said. (NAN)

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40m Nigerians Engage In Fuelwood Collection, Charcoal Production -Report

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Forty million Nigerians are engaged directly in fuelwood collection and charcoal production, says the report launched by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.
This is contained in a report entitled; “2022 State of the World’s Forests,” released at the ongoing 15th World Forestry Congress (WFC) in Seoul, South Korea.
The report said that these engagements provided an estimated 530,000 full-time equivalent direct jobs for the citizens.
It said that an additional 200,000 people – mostly also full-time – provided transport services for retail and wholesale trade in the fuelwood and charcoal production in the country.
It said that large numbers of livelihoods in other sub-Saharan African countries also depended on the fuelwood and charcoal economies.
The report, however, raised environmental concerns about the further use of wood biomass for bioenergy production associated with greenhouse gas emissions, soil-quality degradation and biodiversity loss.
In many developing countries, the transition to improved energy access and modern renewables may have implications for livelihoods.
“Therefore, there is a need for environmental, economic and social sustainability in bioenergy production, which can be assessed through a set of multicriteria indicators, and life-cycle assessment can be used to explore environmental performance.
“Although the full impact of wood fuel on climate change is disputed, there is little disagreement that benefits can be maximized by applying sustainable forest management practices and increasing the operational efficiencies of combined-heat-and-power plants and biorefineries,” the FAO’s report said.

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Plastic Waste And Creative Art

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In the search for a global solution to the problem of plastic waste pollution, an indigene of Rivers State, Dr. Benjamin Ejiohuo, says recycling of plastic waste to produce art work remains the solution.
Plasticwaste has become a source of concern to environmentalists, governments and scientists across the world.
Report by Wikipedia had it that plastic waste account for over 70 percent pollution both on land and sea.
According to the report, 52 trillion macro and 51  trillion micro plastic waste litter the ocean.
It says 79 percent of plastic waste is sent to land or the ocean, nine percent is recycled, and 12 percent incinerated.
This report shows a dismal performance in plastic recycling globally.
Now coming back home, the situation is even worse.
Plastic waste litters everywhere.
In the streets, there are millions of plastic waste and some are later washed into drains and gutters by rains.
The result is the death of fishes and other marine organisms. On land, plastic waste pollute underground water thereby constituting dangers to man.
Both macro and micro organisms are also attacked in the soil leading to reduction of nutrients for crops.
But as effort towards finding a global solution intensifies, Dr Ejiohuo who is an artist, says plastic waste can be recycled to produce art work.
Ejiohuo hails from Run dele, Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State.
He is into creative work and for the past 20 years, he has been involved in the conversion of plastic waste and wood to art work for societal usage.
He told The Tide in an interview the most efficient way to curb plastic pollution is to recycle them.
Ejiohuo said plastic waste recycling can solve many problems facing the society.
He listed some of the problems to include pollution, job creation, skill impartation and others.
“It is a solution to pollution.What I  am doing is giving life back to waste,” he said.
Explaining how he does it, he said, ‘ ‘we bring dead wood and plastic waste together, refined them to produce art work.
“This is another medium of waste recycling”.
Ejiohuo said since plastic takes hundred years to decay,it has become imperative that the system be encouraged especially in this part of the world.
He said mass enlightenment and industries need to be built while people like him need to be encouraged to impart the knowledge to the youth.
“Government is just not concerned about most of the important things.
“The government should empower me to teach this knowledge to the youths,” he intened.
He added that government knows what to do but has refused to do it.
He boasted that if empowered, even those who throw plastic away will benefit as they will be made to sell them for recycling.
“It will have multiplier effect on the society.
‘‘First, it will reduce pollution, second it will impart skills and knowledge to the youth and lastly it will be a source of income for millions of households.’’
He also decried low patronage of art work in Rivers State, saying that the situation has driven most of his colleagues to Lagos and Abuja.
Conclusionvely, it has become imperative for government to look into this sector to curb unemployment.
“Private sector is also invited to invest in plastic recycling with a view to creating jobs for the youth,” he said.

By: John Bibor

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Stakeholders Call For Mass Tree Planting Campaign

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Some stakeholders in the environment sector have called for mass tree planting campaign with a view to combating the ravaging effect of soot on the environment.
This was contained in a resolution at the end of the air quality monitoring training programme in Port Harcourt.
The programme was organised by the  Rivers Network of NGOs (RINNGOs) and the Centre for Development Support Initiative (CEDSI) under the Climate Action for Sustainable Environmental Protection (CASE) and sponsored by the British Council, the European Union and the Agents for Citizens Transformation.
The stakeholders also urged the various local government councils to install trackers in their various councils to monitor air quality in cities and major towns in Rivers State while government at all levels should provide a recycling plant to manage waste instead of burning them.
They also called for an assent to the Soot Bill recently signed by the Rivers State House of Assembly to effectively fight the soot menace.
The stakeholders called for massive youth advocacy to protect the environment while the youth should see themselves as agents to propagate clean air quality.
The resolution also commended the state Governor, ChiefNyesom Wike for the campaign to end the soot in the state,and called for the effort to be sustained in the state.
The stakeholders also commended the state for being the first in the country to domesticate the Climate Change Act in the country and called for environmental clubs in schools in the state.
Speaking with newsmen, the State Coordinator of  RINNGOs Dr.(Mrs) Mina Ogbanga said clean and quality air is the right of the citizens, adding that government should make effort to ensure the citizens get access to quality air.

By: John Bibor & Oribim Ibama

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