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EU Delegation Urges Collective Action Against Waste, Pollution

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By Tosin Kolade

Mr Zissimos Vergos, Deputy Ambassador of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, has urged all stakeholders to collaborate in efforts aimed at eliminating waste and environmental pollution.

Vergos made the call at an event in commemoration of Nigeria’s first International Day of Zero Waste, on Wednesday in Abuja.

The theme of the event is, ‘Beat Waste’.

He stressed the urgency of the situation, shedding light on the alarming statistics of global waste production and its grave implications for the future of humanity.

Emphasising the importance of strengthening waste management worldwide, he highlighted the need to promote sustainable consumption and production patterns.

“Each year, humanity generates between 2.1 billion and 2.3 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste, yet global waste management services struggle to cope, leaving 2.7 billion people without access to proper waste collection.

“Only about 60 per cent of municipal solid waste is managed in controlled facilities, exacerbating the threat of waste pollution to human well-being and economic prosperity.

“This issue is intertwined with the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution.

“Without immediate action, annual municipal solid waste generation is projected to soar to 3.8 billion tonnes by 2050, further exacerbating the environmental challenges we face”.

According to him, the EU’s relentless dedication to waste reduction is evident in efforts to implement the waste hierarchy and setting ambitious targets for waste prevention and management.

He said the proposal to revise the Waste Framework Directive is ongoing, aiming to significantly curb waste generation by 2030.

Vergos shed light on collaborative initiatives like the Global Alliance on Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency (GACERE), uniting nations in the fight against plastic pollution and championing sustainable practices.

He announced the EU’s partnership with Nigeria through the Circular Economy Working Group, a testament to joint efforts in fostering green growth and inclusivity.

He commended the Federal Ministry of Environment for their unwavering dedication, acknowledging their pivotal role in shaping policies and regulations to combat waste.

The deputy ambassador underscored the importance of collective action in embracing the zero waste culture and urged everyone to “Beat Waste” together.

Ms. Val Ahmadu, Policy Advisor at the Netherlands Embassy, emphasised the International Day of Zero Waste’s significance in promoting global waste management and sustainable consumption patterns, highlighting collaborative solutions over blame.

She hailed Nigeria’s circular roadmap launch as a significant stride toward sustainable development and lauded recent partnerships with Dutch firms for waste management initiatives.

Ahmadu stressed that these efforts not only address waste but also fostered economic growth and job creation.

She said that Nigeria’s transition to a circular economy was an opportunity to combat climate change and waste issues.

Ahmadu reaffirmed the Netherlands’ commitment to global collaboration, expressing pleasure in working with the EU.

Nigeria’s Minister of Environment, Malam Balarabe Lawal, highlighted innovative strategies to address the global waste crisis, advocating for reduced single-use plastics, increased recycling, and composting.

He said Nigeria is one of the fastest-growing countries in the world with a population of over 200 million, generating about 32 million tonnes of solid waste per year.

According to him, the large volume of waste being generated in the country presents circular economy business opportunities across the waste management value chain.

He urged a recommitment to zero waste living, emphasising the importance of sustainable practices and policy changes to drive progress towards a circular economy.

Lawal stressed the power of community and collaboration in minimising waste and preserving resources for a healthier environment.

He explained that the alarming statistics underscored the urgency of action to mitigate waste pollution’s impacts on human well-being and the planet’s health.

Lawal also emphasised the need for immediate intervention to prevent further escalation of the crisis.

The highlight of the event was the unveiling of the Nigeria Circular Economy Roadmap, aimed at guiding the country’s transition while defining the government’s role in enabling the private sector to drive implementation through policy. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Abiemwense Moru



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