Don advocates for better regulatory framework on renewable energy

A Professor in the University of Agriculture, Markurdi, Benue State, Prof. Isaac Itodo, has urged the Federal Government to come up with a better regulatory framework on renewable energy to address the nation’s electricity deficit.

Itodo made the call on Saturday,at a “Knowledge sharing Workshop on: Sustainable Biogas Generation as an Alternative Energy Resource in Nigeria” in Delta State.

The event was organised by the Higher Education Partnership for Sub-saharan Africa (HEP-SSA) projects and held at the Federal University of Petroleum Resources (FUPRE), Effurun.

Itodo, who spoke on “Sustainable Energy Resources: Practical Experience with Biogas Production and Utility”, said renewable energy in the country lacked proper regulation and technical expertise among others.

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According to him, most of the biogas plants built in Nigeria were based on “try and error”, adding only about 25 biogas facilities are functional in a country of over 180 million population.

The biogas expert said that Nigeria cannot meet her huge energy demand through hydro power source hence the need to urgently diversify.

“The 8,000 megawatts we generate as electricity is a mere theory, Nigeria needs a minimum of sustained 35,000 megawatts to drive her industrialisation and other sector of the economy.

“Energy consumption per capita is a parametre for measuring the economic index of a nation,” he said.

Speaking with newsmen, Itodo said there were different forms of renewable energy among which are: biofuel which includes biogas, solar and thermal, among others.

“We must keep fate with the renewable energy technology because that is the only way the country can be energy independent and by implication stimulate other infrastructure like the ICT.

“Renewable energy is the only way we can reduce our electricity deficit and improve our energy per capita consumption.

“Our energy per capita consumption is very low compared to average countries in Africa like Gabon and others,” he said.

Itodo said there was need for experts in the renewable energy sector to meet periodically to brainstorm and deploy various technology to meet the electricity demands of the country.

“To build a biogas plant is try and error in Nigeria, it takes me almost three years to get a biogas facility working despite having a Phd in it.

“What you have in the laboratory is almost different from what you have in the field, so people should form groups certified by the regulatory agency and start training on biogas,” he said.

Earlier, Dr Omonigho Otanocha, project coordinator, FUPRE-HEP-SSA, said the aim of the workshop was to share knowledge on the importance of biogas to the people, environment and the country.

He said the programme was aimed at propagating the sustainable production of biogas as well as scale up technology so that Small and Medium Scale Enterprises and households can use the organic substances generated to produce energy.

“This project will last for two years between 2018 and 2020.

“It will be held in other four universities in Nigeria which include: Edo State University, Iyamho; University of Abuja; Alex Ekwueme University, Ebonyi; and Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta to build research and development,” he said.

 

Paramount Ruler urges FG to make progress in Ogoni clean-up

The Paramount Ruler in Khana Local Government Area in Rivers State, King Baridam Suanu, has urged the Federal Government to make visible progress in implementing the Ogoni clean-up project.

Suanu made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)in Port Harcourt, the state capital.

The paramount ruler, however, commended the present administration for having the political will to launch the Ogoni clean-up recently.

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According to him, this has unveiled continued government commitment to the project since the launch.

He, therefore, urged the Federal Government to do the needful by contracting the project as well as monitoring its funding and disbursements to achieve success in the exercise.

He said that, so far, the amount of money released to the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) board and the ingenuity of companies shortlisted for the exercise showed some insincerity in its implementation.

“I heard that monies have been released to the HYPREP board, we were also told that 20 companies have already been shortlisted for the clean-up and as I speak these companies are yet to be seen on site.

“Though, I have my reservation about some of the companies shortlisted because I don’t think most of them even applied officially for the contract.

“Basically, I think there is a form of political situation going on at the seat of power.

“People just award contracts, my fear is that most of these companies that have been awarded the clean-up contracts may end up subletting them and that is not going to be very good for the exercise.

“For me, I think that the Federal Government is not yet keen at addressing Ogoni clean-up, whenever they are ready to achieve success in that regard, we will know,’’ he said.

Suanu said that, apart from an indigenous company known as Geo-Services Company among the shortlisted contractors, others had remained secretive in their operations.

“For now, I’ve not actually seen any of the companies being mobilised on site, but I know from the report available to me, there may be one indigenous company, Geo-Services among them.

“Others are unpopular companies that my instinct tells me may not have the technical knowhow to deliver on the clean-up project.

“Apart from a company like Geo-Services whose directorate and operations are known in this region others are new to me,” he said.

Cross River Councils Now Open Defecation Free-FG

The Federal Government has declared Ikom and Yala Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Cross River State open defecation free (ODF).

The declaration was made at a news conference held in Calabar, the state capital,by the state Ministry of Water Resources.

Speaking at the occasion, the Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, who was represented by Mr Emmanuel Awe, a Director in the ministry, commended the state government for the feat.

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According to the minister, while Nigeria made significant progress in the provision of safe water supply in the past decade which had contributed to socio-economic development, the same could not be said of sanitisation and hygiene.

“Nigeria was reported to be the country with the highest number of people practising open defecation in Africa, with over 46 million people involved.

“To this end, the Ministry of Water Resources in collaboration with United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) developed the strategic document -Making Nigeria Open Defecation Free,” he said.

The minister noted that, on Nov. 8, President Muhammadu Buhari also declared a state of emergency in the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector and launched the National Action Plan for the revitalisation of the sector.

“More recently, the ministry launched the Open Defecation Free Nigeria (Rural) 2025 campaign during the last National Water Resources Council meeting held in Abuja.

“These are geared to ensure that Nigeria meets the 2025 target of making the country open defecation free,” he said.

Similarly, the state’s Commissioner for Water Resources Mr Ntufam Gabe-Odu said all the communities in Ikom and Yala had satisfied the National Open Defecation Protocol.

He thanked the Community-led Health Improvement through Sanitisation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria (CHISHPIN) and all the other agencies that supported the initiative.

The commissioner also urged all hands to be on deck in order to make the state the first state to be declared ODF in the country.

Earlier, the traditional rulers of Ikom and Yala LGAs thanked the government for its efforts =and called for increase funding for such laudable initiatives to ensure sustainability.

“Sustainability is key to whatever we are doing; some communities operating this scheme in the states do not have boreholes and depend on streams which dry up in the dry season.

“We depend on what donors give to this state to survive and so if the state government increases its counterpart funding for projects like this, I think we will benefit more,” he said.

So far, five LGAs in the state – Obanliku, Bekwarra, Yakurr, Ikom and Yala – have been declared ODF.

UK partner IFC to fund $2b worth of green construction

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the government of the United Kingdom announced on Monday, December 10, 2018 a new partnership to help transform construction markets by crowding in as much as $2 billion in public and private sector financing for certified green buildings in emerging markets.

The UK-IFC Market Accelerator for Green Construction Programme will be the first UK-IFC partnership in blended concessional finance for climate change mitigation. The U.K. government’s contribution of £105 million will include £80 million for investments and £25 million for advisory services. The funds will be used to incentivise the development of green buildings through certification with IFC’s EDGE and other leading certification systems.

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Globally, buildings generate 19 percent of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions and consume 40 percent of electricity. Every year, an additional 5.5 billion square meters of floor space is constructed, mainly in emerging markets where green construction makes up only a small fraction of new buildings. The global built environment is expected to double by 2050, and green construction can secure lower emissions for decades. By accelerating the construction of certified green buildings, the program aims to mobilise $2 billion in investments to help tackle climate change.

“Green buildings represent a powerful opportunity to address climate change in emerging markets,” said Hans Peter Lankes, IFC’s Vice President for Economics and Private Sector Development. “Investments in green buildings certified with EDGE and other standards could represent a $3.4 trillion opportunity over the next decade. Blended finance is a valuable tool to help create new markets for green construction by mobilizing private capital through financial intermediaries.”

“To date the UK has supported 47 million people across the globe cope with the effects of climate change and provided 17 million people with improved access to clean energy, helping to raise $100 billion a year by 2020 and sharing expertise to keep us secure too,” said Claire Perry, Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth. “One year on from the launch of our modern Industrial Strategy, we are making the most of the economic opportunities that go hand-in-hand with tackling climate change. This exciting new programme will encourage greener construction practices in developing countries to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions, creating opportunities for UK businesses to invest in new markets,” she concluded.

IFC plays a key role in advancing climate solutions led by the private sector. It has an ambitious commitment to ensure 35 percent of its investments are climate-related by 2030. Since 2005, IFC has invested $22.2 billion in long-term financing from its own account and mobilised another $15.7 billion from investors for climate-related projects. IFC green building commitments were $1.4 billion in fiscal year 2018. EDGE certification is available in 144 countries with more than four million square meters of floor space certified.

IFC’s Blended Finance practice helps unlock private sector capital by using concessional finance to mitigate risks, enabling private investors to undertake high-impact development projects that are on the cusp of commercial viability. In fiscal year 2018, IFC committed more than $218 million of concessional donor funds, catalysing $1.5 billion in private investment.

Source:Environews

Carbon emissions level from buildings skyrockets – UN

Heat-trapping emissions from buildings and construction appear to have peaked at a global level, the United Nations said on Friday, December 7, 2018.

This is a trend that could encourage countries to take up the issue more aggressively as a way of curbing climate change.

Greenhouse gas emissions have been attributed to buildings levelled off over 2015-2017.

However, they still represent about a third of the global emissions that cause climate change, a report by UN Environment and its partners said.

The finding is a rare bright spot amid a spate of warnings that not enough is being done to stop the planet heating up.

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Global carbon emissions are set to rise nearly three per cent this year due to continued fossil fuel use, scientists said this week.

The statement dashes hope that an increase in 2017 was temporary after two years of slowdown.

The UN Environment report called for more pledges to make building construction greener, in national climate action plans submitted for the 2015 Paris Agreement to curb climate change.

“It’s a very complex field, but one that’s absolutely critical,” Nick Nuttall, a UN Environment spokesman told reporters on the sidelines of U.N. climate talks in Poland.

Delegates from more than 190 nations’ party to the Paris Agreement are gathered in the Polish city of Katowice to meet an end-of-year deadline to agree rules on how to enforce the pact.

The “rule book”, as it is known, is expected to include details about how countries will report and monitor curbs on greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen their national plans.

A positive outcome at the negotiations could encourage governments to double down on promises to cut emissions from the construction industry, said Nuttall.

“That might increase the enthusiasm of nations to revise their (action plans),” he said.

“If they’re revised upwards to include the building and construction sector, then what happens here will have a very strong impact on the sector being able to move forward faster.”

To encourage energy-efficient buildings, the national plans could push for better insulation and windows by aspiring to revamp building codes and set up energy certification schemes.

They could also plan to lower emissions from common building materials like cement and steel whose manufacturing generates large amounts of carbon, the report said.

Even if such rules require consumers to open their wallets to retrofit a home, for example.

It is unlikely to cause the kind of public anger seen recently in France over fuel taxes, said Jennifer Layke, global director for energy with the Washington-based World Resources Institute.

Higher fuel taxes proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron to fight climate change have stoked violent protests in the European nation, forcing the government to shelve the plan this week.

“If you told everyone they had to spend 1,000 dollars next month to renovate their home, you would see a backlash,” said Layke.

But most countries had “proven strategies” to help consumers shoulder the costs, such as financing or rebates, she said.

In June, the European Union gave its member states 20 months to put into law a goal to dramatically increase the energy efficiency of buildings by 2050.

Source: EnviroNews

NEMA advocates tree planting to check windstorm, erosion in southeast

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has called on residents of the southeast to imbibe the culture of tree planting to check windstorm and gully erosion in the zone.

Mr Walson Ibarakumo, NEMA South-East Zonal Coordinator, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu, Enugu State on Wednesday, December 5, 2018.

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He advised the residents to plant trees around their homes, public buildings such as hospitals, schools, worship centres and markets. He said that the measure would help to naturally check impacts of erosion currently ravaging different communities in the zone.

He said that trees played significant roles in balancing the environment and checking other natural and man-made environmental disasters. According to him, tree planting does not attract so much financial cost and burden to the people, except at the initial stage of grooming.

“NEMA has gone from reactionary emergency response strategy to pro-active emergency response strategy and we want Nigerians to go along with the agency in this direction.

“I have spent time advocating and educating Nigerians, especially southeast residents in each community I had visited, on the tremendous good trees can do to them and their environment.

“Apart from providing us with shade for coolness and relaxation as well as edibles, trees also help to balance activities of nature around us.”When you plant medium-size trees around your home or public buildings, you are securing such buildings from windstorm and erosion menace.“The trees will naturally take up and break the force of a windstorm, which will ensure that the deadly wind does not hit at your home or building directly.

“Likewise, the roots of the trees help to hold soil together, especially areas with weak or in-adhesive clay soil type, thus checking erosion,’’ the NEMA boss said.

He however cautioned that huge and very tall trees near buildings posing risks to human lives and properties should be cut down. Ibarakumo advised that only shrubs and medium-size tress should be planted as erosion-control measures. NEMA recently distributed some relief materials to 1,280 victims of windstorm at Agbogugu community in Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State.

Source:Environews

Park Service campaigns on dangers of bush burning

Conservator-General of the Service National Park Service, Alhaji Ibrahim Goni, says the service will soon embark on campaign against bush burning during the dry season.

According to him, the campaign has become necessary following the onset of the harmattan season, stressing that some herdsmen deliberately set fire around wild parks in a bid to get fresh fodder for their animals.

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“They do this to enable them access Savannah land to influence early regeneration for their animals.

“We also have incidences where people embark on either individual hunting or communal hunting and set the bush on fire to drive out animals, so they can capture or kill them.

“And one of the bad effects is the killing of many animals sometimes in excruciating ways by burning them alive which is among the worst possible deaths.

“An animal that burns to death plausibly experiences a few times more pain than an animal dying in another way, and it is our responsibility to protect and preserve these animals.”

He said that each time you burn the bush or set vegetation on fire, even a standing rock would be weakened, adding “you are not only burning the grasses, you are destroying the soil nutrients.’’

“It also leads to air pollution and increases the carbon content in the atmosphere; and when this happens the ozone layer is destroyed, so you increase the intensity of the heat on the earth.’’

Goni listed some of the measures to guard against uncontrolled bush burning to include the clearing of boundaries around the homes and farmlands.

“At our parks, we ensure that immediately after the rainy season, we embark on boundary clearing, and have graders run across the boundary to create ridges of about six meters in wide.

“This we consider as a fire breaker so that when fire is set outside of our parks, the fire cannot penetrate our parks.’’

Goni, however, said that there were some advantages of controlled bush burning which included stimulating plant growth.

“After controlled bush burning, in the long run, the affected area will invite more sunlight, new grass and fresh vegetation as fodders for animals.”

He explained that the campaign was aimed at protecting wildlife and vegetation during the harmattan season.He cautioned members of the public against uncontrolled bush burning during the harmattan, especially in and around parks. He further called on Nigerians to have respect for the environment.

Source(NAN)

Nigeria, World Bank explore measures to make north climate-resilient

The World Bank, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Environment, commissioned a study on “Household Vulnerability to Climate Change”, developed a “Multi-Sector Investment Framework (MSIF)” as well as an

“Assessment and Analysis of Economic Cost of Land Degradation and Hotspot Mapping” for a range of sectors in the arid and semi-arid areas of Nigeria.

Climate change, according to a broad scientific consensus, is a challenge that is likely to happen more quickly than what was expected some years ago. Human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels and clearing of forests for agricultural and other purposes, are said to have intensified the natural greenhouse effect, thereby leading to global warming.

In arid and semi-arid (dryland) parts of Nigeria, extreme weather events such as drought, desertification and heat waves are said to be occurring in greater frequencies and intensities. This apparently influenced the initiative, in respect of which a two-day (November 27 to 28) validation workshop held in Abuja.

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Dr Amos Abu of the World Bank Nigeria Country Office said: “It is a joint World Bank and Federal Government effort and we are into it because it is one of the priority areas that have been identified by the government and, as a good partner, we are working with them to having clarity as it pertains to the cost of environmental degradation in Nigeria. This will help inform policies, it will also help in better targeting and also prioritisation and sequencing.

“Because the primary focus of the World Bank is to eliminate extreme poverty while boosting shared prosperity, the need to know where the poor live and their vulnerabilities to changing environment and extreme weather events cannot be over-emphasised if we are actually to addressing their concerns and situation.

Therefore, we are very happy to be partnering with the Federal Government in carrying out these three important studies, respectively dealing with mapping of housing vulnerabilities in arid and semi-arid parts of Nigeria, the multi-sector investment framework for addressing climate change issues and for building communal resilience and sector resilience, as well as costing and mapping of degraded hotspots in Nigeria.

“These are really study diagnostics that will help inform policy in a very practical and poignant manner, and thus we also see that it will help in sequencing, and also give a sense of priority and then gross our attention to what will happen in a do-nothing scenario. So, this is a decision support tool that these new studies have thrown up and we are going to take it further.”

Prof. Olukayode Oladipo, who produced two of the reports, said: “The report is to help and guide the World Bank in identifying critical areas of intervention that can make the arid and semi-arid regions of northern Nigeria to be more climate resilient and sustainably developed by looking at how vulnerable the region is to climate change and climate variability, and which particular areas within the region is extremely vulnerable not only in terms of the climatic elements, but in terms of the socio-economic dimensions the people are living and surviving under increasingly threatening climatic conditions.

“The other aspect is how degraded is the area in terms of loss of biodiversity, erosion, deforestation, and what is it costing if we do nothing and allow the spate of degradation to continue. By having this particular information now, the World Bank will now look and identify immediate areas of need that can reduce the rate of degradation, increase the resilience of the people to changes in climatic conditions, and enable them to make a living in a more sustainable manner from the area, rather than continuously complaining that the area is arid or semi-arid and that it is not working, is not the best.

“So, in short, it is an information-gathering and data-generating system to enable the World Bank to look at the potential areas of investment that the World Bank can support and bring about positive development in the concerned areas or regions.”

The goal of the “Household Vulnerability to Climate Change in Arid and Semi-Arid Northern Nigeria” report, according to Prof. Oladipo, is to carry out vulnerability mapping to underpin development of a pragmatic framework for climate resilient development activities in the agriculture and forest sectors, taking into consideration activities in water resources, irrigation and energy to ensure an integrated approach to building landscape resilience.

The “Multi-Sector Investment Framework (MSIF) for Climate Resilience in Nigeria”, he added, stresses that massive investment is required to build the country’s resilience to climate risks and to safeguard its natural capital in the light of increasing climatic variability that is expected to affect the area.

Mamoud Bello Abubakar, who prepared “Assessment and Analysis of Economic Cost of Land Degradation and Hotspot Mapping in Arid and Semi-Arid Region in Nigeria”, disclosed that the study assessed and analysed the extent of land degradation hotspot, drives (causes) and its economic cost.

“It also analysed the determinants of land degradation and sustainable land management in the six states of northern Nigeria (Borno and Sokoto in the Semi-Arid Zone, Adamawa and Kano in the Sub-Humid Zone, and Niger and Kogi in the Humid Zone),” he added.

Source:Environews

 

Creation of protected areas to benefit African countries – UN

Jaime Cavelier, senior environmental specialist with the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) said that the protected areas can develop sustainable tourism that can be a major source of revenue generation for the countries.

“The protected areas are capable of improving the country’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP) hence helped in improving the lives of populations,”

He said that the countries must begin to be strategic regarding their expenditures since donor funding is getting limited with time.

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Cavelier said that the creation of conservancies has proven very useful as it helps offer communities socio – economic benefits and has reduced human – wildlife conflicts.

He said that with proper management, the revenue accrued from the protected areas can help support other sectors such as health, education and infrastructure.

Cavelier revealed that GEF has donated $131 million to help 19 countries in Africa and Asia to address problems associated with poaching that threatens the survival of wildlife globally.

He said that part of the amount will be used to train wildlife rangers to help preserve pangolin and rhinos that are threatened with extinction due to demand for their products by illegal traders in wildlife products.

“It is important that governments allocate additional funds to help save the wildlife from extinction,” he added.

He further said that UN agency has also allocated $1.2 billion in recent years towards the conservation of biodiversity and a further 500,000 million towards climate change and land degradation through small grants projects.

The official said that GEF is in the process of integrating the programs on conservation of biodiversity, climate change and land degradation that has been running independently for a long time.

He said that the approach will forge a joint effort to help arrest environmental degradation that has been continuing despite interventions put in place by UN programmes and other development agencies.

Cavelier stressed the need for countries to mainstream fisheries and tourism as part of the productive sectors in line with SDGs.

Source: Environews

 

How Port Harcourt went from garden to garbage city

Garden City of Port Harcourt is the popular name given to Port Harcourt in Rivers State years back because of its clean, tidy and serene environment.

Between 1980 and 1990 Port Harcourt was rated the cleanest city in the country as a result of its beautiful landscape, good road layout and the environmental consciousness of residents.

‘Pitakwal’ as the capital and largest city of the state has been fondly nicknamed, was the dream city of many Nigerians but as urban explosion began to take a heavy toll in the once beautiful ‘Garden City’. People now fear that the city is gradually assuming the status of “garbage centre of Nigeria.”

Port Harcourt residents are not happy about the poor state of the environment. At Creek Road in old Port Harcourt township, the road which leads to the market is an eyesore. Heaps of refuse dot adjoining streets emitting offensive odour.

A resident, Tamuno Ibisiki, said “Creek road is turning to be the dirtiest part of the state. The traders in the market are not helping matters as they dump the rubbish generated from their businesses on the road. The stench is terrible and constitutes a very serious health challenges to residents,” he said.

At Ikwerre road, near the popular Mile One market, the heaps of refuse dumped close to a new generation bank have been a source of worry to residents. The area is designated as a collection centre for refuse by the State Waste Management Agency.  However, the heaps of refuse take some time before evacuation and the stench from the eyesore are worrisome.

A resident whose office is located in the area expressed worry over the health implication of the refuse dumps, saying, “It’s very embarrassing that a popular area such as Mile One should be used as a collection centre for refuse by the Waste Management Agency. The stench from the refuse is very offensive and could be very hazardous to human health.

“Refuse collection centres should be located in isolated areas and not in highly populated areas. I have complained to the agency responsible but they seem not to be bothered about the nuisance the site constitutes to residents,” stated the man who pleaded anonymity.

Other areas such as Mile 3, Mile 4, Echue Street, Sangana Street, Education Bus Stop, Abali Park, Sangana Street and some parts of Oyigbo are not left out of the refuse problem.

Traders at the popular Sangana Street litter the area with heaps of refuse comprising of rotten fruits and vegetables, waiting for evacuators.

The popular Oyigbo Express Junction which hosts the Garden City’s statues of Port Harcourt, is also home to heaps of refuse which have not been evacuated for a very long time suffusing the area with offensive odour.

Peter Dozie, a resident of the area said “the mountain of refuse deposited at the Express Junction was terrible because it is a gateway to Port Harcourt and links the city to other states such as Abia and Imo.

“Meanwhile, the state government spends millions of naira every month to pay service providers but much is left to be desired. The stench coming from the uncollected refuse is terrible and can be a health hazard. Government should do something about this without delay,” Dozie said.

A  school teacher in Oyigbo, who pleaded anonymity said “this place is designated as refuse collection centre and almost all the residents bring their refuse here for onward evacuation. In advanced countries refuse dumps are located in isolated areas and receptacles are provided to deposit them.”

 

“We have complained to the authorities but nothing has been done about it. The lives of pupils in this school are under serious threat,” he said.

Meanwhile, successive administrations in the state have tried to restore the beauty and serenity of Port Harcourt through policy actions but which are yet to yield positive result.

The previous administration, conscious of restoring the Garden City status of Port Harcourt in 2008 engaged a private firm to carry out landscaping of some designated areas of the state and plant grasses and flowers. Over N400 million was expended on the project.

The contractor based in Calabar immediately swung into action. Buildings and structures that fell within the areas designated for landscaping and grassing were demolished.

The areas were landscaped and flowers and grasses planted but less than six months after, the areas were again completely defaced with refuse dumps resurfacing and the green areas converted to footpaths and driveways.

Also, a monthly environmental sanitation exercise was begun to engage residents in the cleaning of their environment and refuse contractors were also engaged from all the nooks and crannies of the state.

It was gathered that over 25 contractors were engaged and that the state government spent about N500 million monthly in paying them. It was learnt that at a point the contractors were mandated to use Compactor machines and those who were unable to procure them were sacked by the state government.

But despite the huge sums of money spent monthly to keep the state clean, Port Harcourt remains very dirty, with an untidy environment.

Governor Nyesom Wike, on assumption of office in 2015, inherited huge tonnage of uncleared refuse littering the streets of Port Harcourt. The contractors had stopped work because of being owned several months’ payment. Governor Wike cleared the debt and they resumed work but still no significant improvement in the general sanitation of the state.

However, to improve the state’s environmental status, the government recently declared a state of emergency on environmental sanitation in the state.

The Commissioner of Information and Communications, Barrister Emma Okah, who stated this recently, said the decision was aimed at improving on the state of sanitation in the state.

“Government frowns seriously at the deteriorating urban sanitation and environment in the state, particularly in Port Harcourt and Obio Akpor metropolis.

“Consequently, the government has decided to declare a state of emergency on the set of people who are in the habit of trading on the roads, the medians and all of that,” he said.

The State Executive Council has also set up a Special Task Force chaired by Governor Nyesom Wike himself to clear illegal traders from major roads and streets in Port Harcourt and its environs.

Source: Victor Edozie

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