By Vivian Emoni
The Federal Government has urged all environment stakeholders to collaborate for effective implementation of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programme, to ensure strong waste management practices in the country.
Chief Sharon Ikeazor, Minister of State for Environment, said this at the 11th National Regulatory Dialogue on Implementation of National Environmental Regulations, in Abuja.
The programme was organised by the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA).
Ikeazor also urged industries and the general public to cooperate with government at all levels to comply with all national environmental legislations and ensure hitch free implementation of the programme for sustainable development.
According to her, all producers should take responsibility for incorporating environmental concerns in the design, process and disposal of their products, including the packaging.
“Industry and business people should be responsible for sustained awareness creation on EPR and for robust campaigns.
“NESREA should commence immediate implementation of EPR schemes in Nigeria with the goal of addressing different waste streams.
“Government at all levels should work together to eliminate areas of conflict to ensure successful EPR implementation.
“These framework actions on effective collaboration approach between governments on all levels, businessmen and the public will achieve a zero-waste society in the near future,’’ Ikeazor said.
The Minister said that NESREA had developed guidelines for EPR implementation in Nigeria.
Ikeazor said this was with the support of the German Agency for Development (GIZ), Heinrich Boll Stiftung (HBS) Foundation, and Global Environment Facility (GEF).
She added that African Development Bank had also commenced the implementation scheme in the E-waste, Plastics, Battery, and Food and Beverages sectors.
Ikeazor called on Nigerians to work together in protecting the environment for posterity and commended NESREA for engaging stakeholders to examine the implementation of the EPR.
Prof. Aliyu Jauro, Director-General of NESREA said that EPR was a globally considered acceptable option to control waste generation.
Jauro said that the EPR was a concept that promoted total life cycle environmental improvements of product systems by extending the responsibilities of the manufacturers of the products to various parts of the life cycle.
“EPR will improve waste management practices; protects the environment, human health and promotes the design of eco-friendly products.
“The programme will also reduce unsustainable consumption and production patterns; promotes public/private partnership; and creates jobs, business opportunities, and economic development,’’ he said.
The Director-General said implementation of the EPR would identify factors that hindered the smooth implementation of the programme; and evolve strategies to achieve effective enforcement.
He advised participants to put in their best for a huge outcome of the deliberation that would protect the environment and human health.
Mr Oluyomi Banjo, a Representative of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, said that implementation of the EPR would create job opportunities in the country.
Banjo, also an environmentalist, said that implementation of the EPR would be achieved only when Nigerians abided by the environmental rules and regulations.
He said that the organisation would continue to support the sector in ensuring that environmental projects were implemented.
Chief Iyiola Oladokun, member, Governing Council of NESREA said that government and relevant stakeholders should evolve policies and programmes to regulate environmental issues in the country.
Oladokun explained that EPR was an environmental protection strategy that made the manufacturers of a product responsible for the entire life cycle of that product, especially for the take-back and final disposal of that product.
“EPR is based on the principle which the producers have the greatest ability and responsibility to reduce toxicity and waste in the environment,’’ he said. (NAN)