Experts seek promotion of environmental sustainability initiatives
To guarantee the future of upcoming generations in Nigeria, experts are seeking a halt in further degradation of the environment and its natural resources.
They spoke at the yearly conference of Society for Environmental Toxicology and Pollution Mitigation (SETPOM) 2017, held at the University of Lagos, which saw the conferment of fellows to distinguished environmentalists and presentation of awards to winners for its green essay and green photo competitions.
They noted that the future of the country might be bleak considering the growing population and the depletion of the resources.According to SETPCOM President, Dr Funmilayo Doherty, with the nation’s population and limited natural resources, individuals and government need to take action responsibly based on the understanding that everything done today can have implications on the lives or people and the planet in future.
She said the conference provides a platform to enhance collaboration and engagement among researchers, regulators and practitioners to find solution to common problems encountered on day-to-day basis by environmental stakeholders.
Doherty stressed that the body strives to promote sustainable environment practices and share best practices for the benefit of man and other occupants of the global ecosystem,
She stressed that Nigeria adopted the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a member state of the United Nations.By committing itself to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, Nigeria should have been able to address issues of environmental sustainability, promote health and wellbeing of all citizens, ensure availability of safe and quality drinking water, sanitation, hygiene and quality education.
Also Professor of Ecotoxicology and Pollution Management, Prof Adebayo Otitoloju, noted that although, the level of awareness of environmental sustainability is quite encouraging in the country, actions in actual implementation as a practice is still low.
Otitloju, who is the founder of SETPOM said the society has been spearheading information on what is to be done, to share the best practices all around the world, when it comes to energy sustainability, and other issues of water resources or common resources to ensure that the future generation could partake in what we are enjoying now.
Also the deputy Director, Safety, Health and Environment, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Mrs. Onyebuchi Sibeudu said sustainable development should take care of today’s needs without compromising the needs of the future generation.
Speaking on Environmental sustainability and the role DPR plays as a regulatory body to ensure Environmental sustainability with respect to the Nigerian oil and gas industry, she said, stakeholders have a part to play in preventing environmental degradation.
Mrs. Sibeudu called for sincere engagement between governments, International Oil Companies (IOC’s) and host communities with respect to oil spill management and environmental restoration.
According to her, there have been several attempts made by operators to establish good working relations with their host communities.Although, she noted that the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) with host communities, have achieved reasonable success, for a truly peaceful and sustainable development of the oil and gas industry, a more holistic engagement with all relevant stakeholders including operators, communities, government regulators, security agencies, NGOs and International Development Partners will need to be initiated and midwifed to fruition.
All stakeholders, she opined must agree to put an end to the continued pollution of the Niger Delta environment as the environment is at a threshold beyond which the sustenance of normal livelihood activities will have been irreparably impaired.She suggested a political solution for the problem of militancy and vandalism and a comprehensive clean up and restoration effort pursued as well as improved conflict resolution mechanisms to resolve historical and present conflicts in the Niger Delta in a definitive and timely manner to foster peace and sustainable development.
The biochemist also advocated the strengthening of regulators regulatory oversight through consolidations of laws, and man power competence building, increased vigilance of regulators especially in times of economic downturn, when pressure/incentive to cut corners for cost saving by operators may be highest and stiffer sanctions for defaulters backed by legislations to foster environmental sustainability.
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