Stakeholders at the annual Pollution Conference said there is a need for attitudinal change to be able to control and reduce pollution in the country.
The conference held in Lagos was the first edition organized by EMR Consult, a not –for- profit organization and themed: “A Global Problem from A Local Perspective.”
The program which had in attendance government officials from the ministry of environment, entrepreneurs, educationists and researchers among others agreed that attitudinal change is important therefore everyone should join hands together to join the initiative of making wealth out of waste which on the other hand will reduce pollution in the country.
They also noted that there was a need for awareness among Nigerians especially on the need to know what is harmful to their health and how to stop any kind of pollution around them.
Welcoming guests to the conference, the convener, Miss Wunmi Ogunde said the conference was held to create awareness to the general public on the effects and dangers of pollution and how it has negatively impacted the human population.
Giving statistics, she said according to the World Health Organization, one third of death in the world now is due to air pollution “the idea of the event was for us at the end to take everything we have learned from the event and start implementing in our environment.
The panel discussion which was moderated by Dr. Sandra Olugue analyzed the current state of pollution in Nigeria; the panelist gave their various views on pollution in Nigeria. One of the panelists Arese Lucia Ojedele, ECO consultant, said that pollution is a devastating issue stating that the consequences of pollution have now gone beyond health issues as dumping of refuse causes blockage of drainage and flood and sometimes the effect of pollution is long term.
Dr. OluwatoniAdeniyi, a public health physician speaking on the state of pollution in Nigeria said that land pollution which also adds to air pollution is of great danger to the society, adding that it causes infection, asthma and even cancer as a result of a long term accumulation of polluted air.
The keynote speaker, Mrs. Belinda Aderonke Odeneye, Permanent Secretary Lagos State Ministry of Environment and Director of Environmental Service, addressed the issue of pollution, causes and its effects on the environment and on the human population at large, saying that a time was going to come where no space will be available for the waste that we generate as a result of environmental pollution stating, therefore, the need to take responsibility for the environment.
Speaking on the need to reduce the generation of waste in our homes she said kitchen waste can be used as manure for crops by creating a small garden where food waste can be conveniently disposed, to also prevent flood and blocked drainages she made mention of rainwater harvesting where you capture your water so it does not run off and become flood, later using it to wash the car or wet the plants.
The permanent secretary put emphasis on the need to reduce, reuse and recycle plastic waste stating that recycling the plastics was the best way to reduce the pollution of plastics in our environment and to reduce the consumption of plastics she encouraged the habit of carrying personal water bottles, stating that to control pollution we have to first prevent it and minimize it before we can talk about control.
Mr. AyokunleIlesanmi, an Independent Investment Advisor in his presentation on the Role of Green Finance in Ensuring a Sustainable Future spoke on green bonds and explained green bonds as typical financing and capital marketing instruments stating that green bonds finance clean transportation, greenhouses, water projects, environmental projects, and recycling projects.
Speaking on the actions to take with the green bonds, he said it was time for all to a drive public-private capital that would go ahead and finance projects like power issue, drainage issue, noise pollution, air pollution and water pollution, stating that the private sector could not do it alone without the support of the government and that the government should also review their policy and develop a comprehensive framework that would drive green lending.
The solution for plastic waste pollution as drawn up during the panel discussion is recycling, as plastic is a valuable resource. It was agreed that recycling the plastics is a great way to reduce the environmental pollution with the panelists suggesting the need to create incentives for recycling plastics and other waste stating that only then will people be interested in recycling their plastics and waste.