The high level of abuse and disregard for environmental laws and regulations is making Nigeria’s environment dangerous to inhabit, the Federal Government has said.It noted that with the increase in air pollution, issues of desertification, erosion and flooding, the environment was becoming uncomfortable and too risky for the citizens to live in. The Minister of Environment, Mrs. Laurentia Mallam, said this during a national stakeholders’ forum organised by the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency in Abuja on Wednesday.
She said, “Our environment is at a crossroad. We have reached or dangerously approaching a tipping point in some areas. The air we breathe is becoming more polluted than ever before from our indoor and outdoor activities. “The water we drink is increasingly being polluted and fouled by domestic, industrial and agricultural activities. Our landscape is being degraded and suffocated with all sorts of wastes, including electrical/electronic wastes and plastics of all sorts.
“The noise levels in our homes, work places and public areas have exceeded the acceptable levels. Unsustainable exploration and exploitation of our natural resources are giving rise to various environmental problems and challenges such as biodiversity loss, deforestation and desertification, and flooding.” According to her, Nigerians have created the problems through absolute disregard and abuse of extant laws and regulations bearing on the environment.
Mallam also blamed the citizens for failing to serve as active watchdogs and vanguard against all forms of environmental crimes. To protect the environment, the minister said the Federal Government had gazetted 28 environmental regulations, while five others were being finalised. She said, “The regulations address various environmental issues in different sectors of our economy. Some programmes arising from the regulations are also being implemented. The national vehicular emission control programme is aimed at testing all vehicles plying Nigerian roads for air quality. Importation of two stroke engine has been banned to reduce air pollution.
“In addition, the national policy on environment is currently being reviewed to take into consideration some new and emerging issues. These programmes and activities by the Federal Government are aimed at protecting our environment and ensuring sustainable development.”
Mallam said through the implementation of the Great Green Wall Programme, National Vehicular Emission Control Programme, Extended Producer Responsibility and the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project, the Federal Government was committed to protecting the environment and ensuring sustainable development.