The Minister of State for Environment Sharon Ikeazor, has called on the media to partner with government to publicise information on the Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) programme.
At a virtual conference, which had the theme : “Extended Producer Responsibility Programme under the Circular Economy :Tackling E-Waste”, the minister said, “On a daily basis, we can see the news that flood the media on the state of the nation, the economy, the environment and also mismanaged waste, which affects the environment as well.”
She further stated that it’s important to publicise the latest lluding projects aimed at addressing emerging challenges and also ensuring joint efforts with the media in promoting and protecting the environment for future generations.
She added that Nigeria has made a lot of strides in the environmentally sound management of e-waste through the implementation of the EPR programme noting, however, that there’s need to do more.
To achieve this, she urged journalists to publicise information on the EPR programme to bring about a change in the ideology of the general public towards a sustainable development and to foster effective environmental governance.
At the online summit, Mr Feng Weng, the United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) representative,gave a lecture on:”Circular Economy Approaches for the Electronic Sector in Nigeria. ” He stated that his organisation is working with the electronic sector in Nigeria to redesign a system to keep the value of the products and materials in the value-chain with best function in value while they do not pollute the lands and oceans, rivers and air of electronics.
Mr. Weng disclosed that GEF and UNEP are bringing international experience in the management of e-waste, give inspiration in the advancements of polcy work adding that the international organisations can use Nigeria as a role model for other African countries.
He stated that work started in June 2019 and will last for another two years.
Mr Weng said that the major components of UNEP’s work is to support the ministry of environment and National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) to implement the EPR Policy and System, support government to enforce legislation by providing more detailed technical guidance, and support the private sector to establish and manage a collective system to collect and treat e-waste.
“We’ll collect 300 tonnes of different electronics from different channels and recycle them.”
He declared that UNEP supports NESREA to gazette technical guidance for EPR, which gives a clear framework target of how producers should takie care of e-waste in a very efficient way.
By publishing the document, he added, the organisation provides support to further amend the regulation of e-waste. He said that they also help the E-Waste Producers Responsibility Organisation of Nigeria (EPRON), to improve management and operation through technical support, as well as bring networks of global companies or agencies to support the EPR project.
He also addressed the need to partner with consumers to help protect the environment, agreeing with the minister that journalists have a very important role to play in terms of spreading the news and raising awareness about the new policy, helping the government and NESREA to send information to e-waste producers.
The UNEP representative said that Nigeria is one of the early countries in Africa that introduced legislation on e-waste, including domestic EPR legislation, management, transpondary movement, control of import and the introduction of license for collectors and recyclers.
An official of EPRON, Mrs Ibukun Faluyi,
enumerated the role of EPRON in the implementation and value -chain management of the EPR project and the significant role of the media in raising awareness of the EPR project .
In his keynote address, Professor Aliyu Jauro, Director-General, NESREA, spoke on government’s role in the circular economy and the EPR framework. He highlighted the provisions of the EPR project, its benefits in the creation of jobs, among other things.
Professor Jauro concluded that if the EPR programme is properly implemented, it will solve the e-waste management problem in the country.
He however stated that the implementation of the EPR programme is currently being carried out for three waste streams: plastics, electrical electronics and batteries.
Professor Lai Oso, Professor of Communication, University of Lagos, stressed that the capitalist industrial system run by Nigeria, seems to contribute largely to the environmental problems in the country, adding that any public initiative needs public support, underscoring the importance of the mass media.
“The media are important tools or instruments of the development process, especially, in national development.” he opined. He stated that the media in today’s world, are the main social institution for the creation and dissemination of public information and knowledge.
According to the university teacher, the media provide the most accessible forum for people to acquire knowledge about what is going on, around them.
Professor Oso, however, expressed his displeasure at the lopsided coverage of environmental issues in Nigeria. “The environment and issues connected to it, do not attract regular media attention, unless there’s a problem,” he said.
Media attention to the environment, he noted, tends to be crisis or problem-driven, stressing that most of the stories in media coverage of environmental issues are tilted towards assigning blames.
The communication expert added that journalists should avail themselves of several workshops organised by NESREA and other agencies, for capacity building and training on e-waste management, adding that will help them to provide the right kind of information to the public.