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The Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibril, has said the unsavory development of poor management of chemicals on the environment can only be redressed through effective, coherent and coordinated transnational environmental governance.
He spoke while delivering a keynote address at the ECOWAS Regional Workshop on National Chemical Information Exchange Networks in Support of the Implementation of International Conventions in Abuja.
The workshop according to him would resuscitate the ECOWAS best Environmental Practices Forum for addressing emissions in priority industrial sector and to meet human resource and infrastructural needs for harnessing information, scientific and socio-economic researches, environmental and biotic monitoring.
The minister who was represented by the permanent secretary, Bukar Hassan pointed to the need for the exigency of establishing a sub-regional Clearing House Mechanism (CHM) for effective information exchange to address challenges of illicit trans-boundary movement of hazardous waste among others.
“Such unsound practices can threaten actualisation of the Africa Union Agenda 2063 and Sustainable Development Goals of 2030,” he said.
For Nigeria as a country, the minister said to ensure a healthy environment and a healthy people, “we must ensure that we have a standard for importing and managing chemicals so that when it comes to issue of disposal we will be able to dispose it safely.”
He said as economic globalization progresses; mineral resources exploration, industrialisation, intensive agricultural activities, among others, have continuously exerted threatening stresses on natural capitals with attendant devastating consequences such as land degradation, flood, erosion, and desertification.
The representative of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Angela Luh, on her part, said Africa’s contribution to global chemicals production remains marginal and the chemicals sector is expected to play an increasingly important role in the economies of specific African countries.
“In most African countries, industrial and agricultural production has intensified, matched by a corresponding use of chemical inputs and generation of hazardous waste,” she said.
These chemicals intensification, as termed by the UN Environment report, means that synthetic chemicals are fast becoming the largest constituents of waste streams and pollution thereby increasing the exposure of human and habitat to chemicals hazards.
Africa has been using pesticides for pest and disease control for more than four decades while estimations indicate 2,740 metric tons of obsolete stockpiles of pesticides.
She said the pesticides are often inadequately stored and may therefore contaminate soil, water, air and food.