Some environmental experts in the North East geopolitical zone have called on the Federal Government to formulate a National Policy on Waste Management.
The stakeholders said that the policy would not only ensure a clean environment but could also ensure that wastes taken off the streets becomes a money spinner through recycling or conversion to organic fertiliser.
According to them, however, such policy must be domesticated at the state level to achieve its purpose.
The Director, Inspection, Enforcement and Compliance of Bauchi State Environmental Protection Agency (BASEPA), Ahmed Dallari, said, “For now, there is no waste management policy even at the Federal level, not to talk of the states, but a process of initiating same has commenced.
“Last year, we were in Abuja to work on a draft of the National Solid Waste Management policy.
“The draft was brought to us for vetting, which we did, but up till today, the clean copy of the draft is yet to see the light of the day.”
The BASEPA Director decried the effect of disused plastics and polythene bags on the environment.
“Polymer products generally have serious and disastrous effect, especially on the land, because they do not degrade easily,” he said.
“They take many years and if not handled well, can take a hundred or thousand years without degrading, unlike those components of the waste that are degrading over the years.”
Similarly, Sole Administrator of Borno State Environmental Protection Agency (BOSEPA), Alhaji Nasiru Surundi blamed improper regulation for the proliferation of plastic wastes in the environment.
He said that the state government established a 10 tonne-capacity plastic bag recycling plant to to convert waste into treasure and enhance effective waste management.
According to him, BOSEPA has engaged young volunteers to collect plastic wastes littering the streets and provides a token to encourage them.
He said, “We cannot deny that plastic bags are necessary in our daily life, and we cannot also deny that most of us did not find a suitable way to dispose those bags when they lose their function.
“Today, waste plastic bags are posing a great challenge, not just in Borno alone, but in the entire country, due to lack of proper waste management policies in states and the country at large.”
The BOSEPA boss advocated punishment for deliberate littering of the environment to deter others.
“People should be advised to protect their environment and defaulters should be charged to pay fine for littering their environment.
“We cannot be cleaning your environment, clearing your culvert and fumigating your homes for the mess you deliberately created all the time,” he said.