Monday, June 6, 2016

World Environment Day: Stakeholders task Nigerians on good sanitation habit

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the 2016 World Environment Day, WED, Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, in the country have urged Nigerians to adopt good sanitation habit and personal hygiene practice on daily basis. The Resources Conservation Development Initiative, RCDI, in partnership with National Youth Service Corp, NYSC, Connected Development, CODE, and the New Nigeria Initiative, NNI, made the appeal at the exercise tagged ‘Clean Up Abuja,’ which demonstrated the essence of clean environment through a sanitation exercise. 

The Coordinator, RCDI, Afoke Igwe said the exercise was to raise awareness and consciousness of Nigerians on healthy and clean environment as part of health needs. Igwe further explained that the environment surpassed everybody living in it. He said: “If the environment is not clean, we are going to have series of diseases. Also speaking, the Founder, New Nigeria Initiative, NNI, Tracy Okoro maintained that the exercise had to be part of the culture of the people for clean environment and prevention to contact diseases. 

Okoro stated that the CSOs embarking on the sanitation exercise symbolised a relaunch of environmental health consciousness and culture in the country, and also to show the level of environmental degradation by indiscriminate disposal of solid and liquid wastes. According to her, the environment has been degraded by waste water disposed, and therefore causes air pollution and the inability to have a recycling culture are what the group intends to bring to the mind of people. 

In his own assertion, the Cofounder and Chief Executive of CODE, Hamzat Lawal said there was need to collaborate with the government and to see how people could be empowered to take actions over their environment. Meanwhile, the value of environmental crime put at 26 percent is larger than previous estimates of $91-258 billion now compared to $70-213 billion in 2014, according to a rapid response report published by the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, and INTERPOL. 

The Rise of Environmental Crime released on the eve of World Environment Day, WED, finds that weak laws and poorly funded security forces are enabling international criminal networks and armed rebels to profit from a trade that fuels conflicts, devastates ecosystems and is threatening species with extinction. UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner said, “Interpol and UNEP have joined forces to bring to the attention of the world the sheer scale of environmental crime. The vast sums of money generated from these crimes keep sophisticated international criminal gangs in business, and fuel insecurity around the world. 

Environmental crime dwarfs the illegal trade in small arms, which is valued at about $3 billion. It is the world’s fourth largest criminal enterprise after drug smuggling, counterfeiting and human trafficking. The amount of money lost due to environmental crime is 10,000 times greater than the amount of money spent by international agencies on combating it – just $20-30 million. INTERPOL Secretary General, J├╝rgen Stock said, “Environmental crime is growing at an alarming pace. The complexity of this type of criminality requires a multisector response underpinned by collaboration across borders. 

Through its global policing capabilities, INTERPOL is resolutely committed to working with its member countries to combat the organised crime networks active in environmental crime.” The report recommends strong action, legislation and sanctions at the national and international level, including measures targeted at disrupting overseas tax havens; an increase in financial support commensurate with the serious threat that environmental crime poses to sustainable development; and economic incentives and alternative livelihoods for those at the bottom of the environmental crime chain. 

The last decade has seen environmental crime rise by at least 5-7 percent per year. This means that environmental crime which includes the illegal trade in wildlife, corporate crime in the forestry sector, the illegal exploitation and sale of gold and other minerals, illegal fisheries, the trafficking of hazardous waste and carbon credit fraud – is growing two to three times faster than global GDP.

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