ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION PLAN By Ifedi Okwenna Anambra is a State under constant environmental threat. It is today faced with myriads of environmental challenges. Considering our small landmass relative to our population, it becomes imperative that the environment of Anambra state is sustainably managed.
During my time as Commissioner for Environment, under the Peter Obi- led administration, we designed for Anambra State, policies, plans and actions that promote sustainable development and which if it were uninterruptedly implemented, would have ensured that this generation of Ndi-Anambra are effectively taken care of without compromising on the abilities of the future generation to be able to adequately take care of their own needs too.
We provided standards and guidelines for Environmental Impact Assessment, Environmental Auditing and monitoring and ensured that projects likely to cause significant adverse impact on the environment, have their Environmental Impact Assessment conducted before such projects commenced. We reviewed and adapted the effluent standards and set minimum standards for liquid effluents treatment, from industrial facilities, before they can be discharged into our environment.
We reorganized the Municipal waste management system, commenced the house-house refuse collection and at-source separation of wastes, using trash bags. We revived tree planting programme and were planting an average of 500,000 trees annually.
We were creating garden parks and beautifying open spaces, cleaning drainages, controlling flood and erosion in all parts of the State. Without sounding immodest, my tenure as the Commissioner for Environment was the golden moment of Anambra Environment. We created Environmental Marshals to police the environment and ENVOCORP, a 55,000 member body of Anambra state students and youths, who volunteered and were mentees on Environmental Protection.
They were around all parts of the state promoting environment consciousness of the citizens of the state on voluntary bases. We attracted support funds from Federal Government, the Ecological Fund office, from World banks, United Nations, other Development Partners, Corporate Nigeria etc. We won awards and were celebrated both locally, nationally and internationally.
Unfortunately, over the years, we have lost these structures, programmes, projects and consciousness.
As government, we shall begin again and shall tackle the environment challenges of Anambra state in a holistic and sustainable manner and ensure that the numerous environmental challenges bedeviling the state are reversed. We shall revive our Waste Management System, promote Urban Renewal, Beautify our cities, tackle flood and erosion and fight climate change.
We can no longer afford to lose sight of need for continuous afforestation programme to regenerate the State, reduce effect of climate change, control flood and erosion and promote sustainable development.
As governor, we shall:
a. Develop an Afforestation Policy for Anambra State which among other things shall make it mandatory for every citizen of the State to plant at least a tree/shrub every year, plant two trees for every tree cut and use carpet grasses instead of slabs in his/her compound to control impact of flood and erosion in the state.
b. Government shall on their own plant a minimum of one million trees/shrubs annually.
c. Ensure that the entire state landscapes are adorned with trees, shrubs and ornamentals
d. Create heavily afforested recreation parks and botanical gardens across the State.
e. Line our streets and walkways with trees and ornamentals.
f. All Public buildings and major hotels shall be decorated with grass lawns, flowers and trees to uplift their aesthetics.
g. Every unplanted open space shall be converted to a Garden Park until it is ready for use.
h. Extensively pursue options to earn carbon credits by offsetting Carbon dioxide in our environment through tree planting and conservation, alternative energy and other techniques. The credit represents transferable rights to emit greenhouse gases and which can be traded (or sold) on voluntary and compliance Carbon markets. One carbon Credit represents one metric ton of carbon dioxide or its equivalent gases removed or reduced from the atmosphere.
We shall put measures to stop the direct emission of gaseous, liquid and other effluents into our fragile and sensitive ecosystem untreated, to reduce the increasing pollution of our land, air and water bodies.
Going forward, Government shall:
a. Issue new and updated guidelines and standards for the emission of wastes into environment of Anambra State.
b. Ensure that all industries and production facilities install a waste treatment system to manage their waste at least to primary and some up to secondary levels before emitting them to the environment.
c. Industries located in an Industrial park or in the free trade zone will have their waste channeled into Industrial waste facility within the Park or Trade Zone.
d. We shall ensure the establishment of Industrial waste treatment plants in major industrial zones in the State.
e. Ensure regular Monitoring of Industrial Facilities in the State to ensure compliance to waste discharge standards.
f. There shall be annual Environmental Audit of all facilities generating waste in the State.
g. Government shall legislate and provide guidelines for Environmental Auditing, Monitoring and institute, an early warning system for environmental control and management.
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Through these methods, we shall return Anambra state to the part of sustainable development once again.
Join us, let’s go to work.