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EU Delegation Urges Collaboration Against Waste and Pollution

By Ojugbele Omotunde

In observance of the 2024 International Zero Waste Day, Mr. Zissimos Vergos, the Deputy Ambassador of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, has issued a call to action for all stakeholders to join forces in combatting waste and pollution in the environment.

Speaking at the “Beat Waste” event held on Wednesday in Abuja, Mr. Vergos highlighted the introduction of the Nigeria Circular Economy Roadmap as a pivotal moment.

This roadmap aims to guide the nation’s transition towards sustainable practices, with a focus on empowering the private sector to lead implementation through legislative support.

Mr. Vergos underscored the staggering statistics, revealing that 2.7 billion people worldwide lack access to proper waste collection, while humanity generates between 2.1 to 2.3 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste annually, a significant portion of which remains inadequately managed.

This not only exacerbates pollution but also poses threats to economic growth and human well-being.

Addressing the urgent need for action, Mr. Vergos emphasized the importance of adopting sustainable consumption patterns and enhancing global waste management efforts. Without immediate intervention, annual waste generation is projected to soar to 3.8 billion tonnes by 2050.

The EU’s commitment to waste reduction was highlighted, with Mr. Vergos outlining initiatives such as the waste hierarchy, ambitious waste reduction targets by 2030, and collaborative programs like the Global Alliance on Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency (GACERE) aimed at combating plastic pollution on a global scale.

Emphasizing the necessity of collective action towards embracing a zero-waste culture, Mr. Vergos commended Nigeria’s partnership through the Circular Economy Working Group and lauded the Federal Ministry of Environment for its efforts in shaping waste policies.

Ms. Val Ahmadu, Policy Advisor at the Netherlands Embassy, echoed the importance of the International Day of Zero Waste in promoting sustainable consumption habits and international waste management.

She emphasized the shift to a circular economy as a solution to waste and climate change, applauding Nigeria’s circular roadmap launch and collaborations with Dutch companies on waste management projects.

Nigeria’s Minister of Environment, Malam Balarabe Lawal, emphasized the gravity of Nigeria’s waste challenge, with the country generating 32 million tonnes of solid waste annually.

He stressed the need for immediate intervention through promoting recycling, composting, and reducing single-use plastics, highlighting the role of policy changes and community engagement in driving a circular economy for a healthier environment.


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