By Dada Jackson
The Lagos State Government has presented a draft plastic waste policy before stakeholders, stating that the time has come to find a lasting solution to the harmful effects of plastic waste across the state.
Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tunji Ballo, dropped the hint while addressing participants at a one-day stakeholders’ workshop on the draft policy at LCCI Conference Centre, Alausa, Ikeja.
Bello said stakeholders’ input was very important in shaping an effective and acceptable policy that would reduce the burden of plastic waste before enacting the policy.
He said the thrust of the policy would include implementing an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) which would be aimed at drastically reducing the amount of plastic waste entering the waste stream, by sorting at source.
According to him, plastics in the environment have been a global problem and man’s relationship with plastics has been shaped by various cultural, social and economic factors.
He said in Nigeria, plastic waste and its unregulated production had been fueling a crisis in the country.
He quoted the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) as saying Nigerians were daily exposed to threats to life by plastic waste which had been found to contain a chemical substance named dioxin.
The commissioner explained that ICIR also noted the inability of the Nigerian government to come up with an implementable policy on the management of plastic waste, thereby making dump sites the final destination of these non-biodegradable product where they are set on fire.
He informed that the Federal Executive Council had also approved a plastic waste Management policy for the country, adding that environmental management and protection was a concurrent issue based on the provision of section 20 of the Nigerian Constitution.
He stressed that it meant both Federal and State government could legislate over environmental issue, with the state’s legislation further addressing her specific geographical and demographical conditions.
The commissioner said Lagos was believed to be generating the highest volume of plastic wastes in Nigeria and this assumption is based on the state’s contribution to the National GDP, the state population coupled with the standard of living and social status of the State.
“In quantifying the plastic composition of the total waste generated in the state, if we imagine an estimated Lagos population of over 20 million consuming one beverage bottle daily, this will give 365 containers per annum per person giving us a total of 7.3 billion of plastic packaged beverages consumed annually. The environmental footprint of the plastic waste generated from these could better be imagined,” he said.
He added that plastic pollute the landfill due to its non-biodegradable nature, clogging the drainages with attendant flooding and finding their way into the rivers thus impacting the health and wellbeing of both people, flora, fauna and the environment.
He emphasized that before now, government has implemented various scheme which include plastic buy back scheme, Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in partnership with Private sector and various activities of plastic recyclers and Producer Responsible Organizations to curb plastic waste burden but have not yielded the desired results
Earlier in her address, Permanent Secretary, Office of Environmental Services, Mrs. Belinda Odeneye said waste has been identified as one of the most pressing environmental issues confronting the State Government and indeed, the world at large.
She said the increasing population of Lagos State which in turn increases the demand for plastics and plastic packaged products are factors responsible for the continuous increase in the generation of plastic waste adding that it’s accompanied with environmental pollution such as blocked drainages, flooding, and pollution of water ways amongst others.
“In line with the above, the Ministry has undertaken the process of formulating a policy for plastic waste management in Lagos State through rigorous in-house review of the policy, key stakeholder consultation representing producers of plastics. This has now culminated into this gathering,” she said.
NiMet predicts cloudiness, thunderstorm across Nigeria
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted cloudiness and thunderstorm from Sunday to Tuesday across the country.
NiMet`s weather outlook released on Saturday in Abuja predicted sunny skies with patches of clouds over the northern region with few thunderstorms over Taraba in the morning hours.
According to it, there are prospects of isolated thunderstorms over parts of Taraba, Adamawa and Kaduna later in the day.
“Partly cloudy skies are anticipated over the North central region with prospects of thunderstorms over part of Benue during the morning hours.
“There are chances of thunderstorms over parts of Kwara, Kogi, Plateau and the Federal Capital Territory in the afternoon to evening period.
“Isolated thunderstorms are expected over some southern states like Ondo, Edo, Imo, Enugu, Ogun, Osun, Delta, Cross River, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Lagos in the morning hours,“ it said.
The agency forecast thunderstorms over parts of Imo, Ondo, Osun and the coastal belt of the country later in the day.
NiMet envisages partly cloudy to sunny skies on Monday over the Northern region throughout the day with prospects of a few thunderstorms over parts of Taraba and Adamawa states in the afternoon and evening hours.
It anticipates cloudy skies with intervals of sunshine over the North central region in the morning hours.
“Further into the day, thunderstorms are anticipated over parts of Niger, Kogi, Nasarawa, Kwara, Benue and the Federal Capital Territory.
“The inland and the coastal cities of the South should be cloudy with prospects of thunderstorms over Bayelsa, Cross River, Rivers and Akwa Ibom states in the morning hours.
“Later in the day, there are prospects of isolated thunderstorms over parts of Ondo, Edo, Enugu, Ogun and the coastal belt of the country,“ it said.
NiMet predicts partly cloudy to sunny skies over the Northern region throughout the forecast period on Tuesday.
It further predicted partly cloudy skies over the North central region in the morning hours with isolated thunderstorms over parts of Benue, Kogi and Kwara states in the afternoon and evening hours.
“The inland and the coastal cities of the South should be predominantly cloudy during the morning hours.
“Later in the day, there are chances of thunderstorms over parts of Ondo, Imo, Edo and the coastal cities,“ it said.
WHO reports global shortfall in mental health investment
The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) new Mental Health Atlas paints a disappointing picture of a worldwide failure to provide people with the mental health services they need.
In a statement made available on Saturday, it said it happened at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic was highlighting a growing need for mental health support.
“World misses most 2020 mental health targets; extension of WHO Mental Health Action Plan to 2030 provides new opportunity for progress reading time, four minutes (1003 words).
“The latest edition of the atlas, which includes data from 171 countries, provides a clear indication that the increased attention given to mental health in recent years has yet to result in a scale-up of quality mental services that is aligned with needs,” the global health agency said.
According to WHO, the Atlas is a compilation of data provided by countries around the world on mental health policies, issued every three years.
Others are legislation, financing, human resources, availability and utilisation of services and data collection systems.
According to the global health body, it is also the mechanism for monitoring progress towards meeting the targets in WHO’s Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan.
“It is extremely concerning that, despite the evident and increasing need for mental health services, which has become even more acute during the COVID-19 pandemic, good intentions are not being met with investment.
“We must heed and act on this wake-up call and dramatically accelerate the scale-up of investment in mental health, because there is no health without mental health,” it quoted Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of WHO, as saying.
The statement said that none of the targets for effective leadership and governance for mental health, provision of mental health services in community-based settings, mental health promotion and prevention, and strengthening of information systems, were close to being achieved.
It said that in 2020, just 51 per cent of WHO’s 194 member states reported that their mental health policy or plan was in line with international and regional human rights instruments, way short of the 80 per cent target.
It said that only 52 per cent of countries met the target relating to mental health promotion and prevention programmes, also well below the 80 per cent target.
WHO noted that the only 2020 target met was a reduction in the rate of suicide by 10 per cent, but even then, only 35 countries said they had a stand-alone prevention strategy, policy or plan.
It said that steady progress was evident, however, in the adoption of mental health policies, plans and laws, as well as in improvements in capacity to report on a set of core mental health indicators.
It said that, however, the percentage of government health budgets spent on mental health has scarcely changed during the last years, still hovering around two per cent.
Vigilante Group Kills Imam, 10 Others In Sokoto
Gunmen suspected to be members of the outlawed Yan Sakai, a vigilance group in Sokoto State, have killed 11 persons, including an Imam, at Mamande village in Gwadabawa local government of Sokoto State.
Our reporter gathered that the victims died on the spot while four persons who sustained gunshot injuries were taken to a hospital by the local government council for treatment.
The Imam who was identified as Malam Aliyu was said to be leading prayers in one of the daily prayer Mosques in Salame.
The incident happened at about 3:30pm on Thursday.
The victims were said to have come from different Fulani settlements around the area to purchase food and other items at the weekly Mamande market.
The Yan Sakai were said to have stormed the market from Goronyo Local Government Area, attacking the victims whom they accused of aiding banditry.
A relative of the Imam, Abdullahi Riskuwa, said his brother was killed unjustifiably because he never had any criminal record.
“He is sound in religion knowledge and had been leading prayers in one of our mosques in Salame town.”
“His only sin was that he belonged to the Fulani tribe.”
According to Riskuwa, Imam Aliyu only went to the market to buy goods when he was killed.
Among those killed at the market, he said, were children and the Yan Sakai went away with their animals.
He called on the government to investigate the matter with a view to bringing the perpetrators to book.
The state chairman of Miyeti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, could not be reached for comment as his telephone line was not reachable when our correspondent attempted to speak with him.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Gwadabawa local government, Aminu Aya, confirmed the attack, saying the Yan Sakai were not from Gwadabawa.
According to him, the deceased were deposited at the Morgue of Specialist Hospital, Sokoto, and some of their relatives went there to recover their corpses.
He however, said that, normalcy was restored in the area.
When contacted, the Public Relation Officer of Sokoto Police Command, ASP Sanusi Abubakar, said he had not briefed about the development but promised to get the details and call back.
However, he had not done so as at the time of filling this report.
Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal had prohibited the activities of Yan Sakai in the state.
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