By; SUNDAY ODE, Abuja
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday, approved the National Policy on plastic waste management in the country.
Minister of Environment, Muhammad Mahmood, disclosed this while briefing Journalists after the weekly meeting of FEC presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said: “The Federal Ministry of Environment today presented a memo on the National Policy on plastic waste management in Nigeria. Recall that about three months ago, we presented a memo on solid waste management and plastic being one of the compositions of total waste, has a significant place in the total waste regime because of its non-biodegradable nature and we have plastics littered all over the place, which is an environmental hazard to both humans and animals.
“What this policy seeks to do is to seize the opportunity of our paradigm shift from linear to circular economy. The standard procedure in the past was, you produce, you use and dispose and we just realised that we cannot continue to do that and plastic has lent itself to recycling or reuse. Therefore, what this policy intends to achieve is to capitalise on that property of it being reused. Currently.”
According to him also, already the Ministry of Environment has built some plastic recycling plants across the country, which would serve as a pilot scheme, adding that the private sector would have the opportunity to dominate the recycling plants.
The Minister regretted that plastic waste is the second form of waste the country needs to deal with.
“There is a lot of these waste. Nigeria has a population of 200 million and plastic waste is like the second in terms of quantity of total waste being produced in Nigeria today,” he stated.
He affirmed that plastic can be recycled to produce blocks, new plastics and palettes for the production of interlocks and many more.
Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, on his part, said council approved a bill to establish a Council for Traditional, Alternative and Complementary Medicine Practice in Nigeria.
He said the bill seeks to take traditional and complementary medicine out of obscurity and give it a profile to institutionalise it, as has been done in other countries, particularly China and India.
Ehanire added: “The outbreak of COVID-19 has renewed the call for home-grown solutions to all these public health diseases and to find the value in our traditional medicines and this is an opportunity with which traditional medicine’s practice can, not only upscaled, but also regulated because there are also areas of malpractice that should be checked.
“It will also provide for the possibility of trainings, setting up institutions and also being able to research further, working with the Institute of Pharmaceutical Research of Nigeria to actually dig out the values that are in our traditional medicines, where they can be used and be used for research.
“There’s also conversation about protecting the intellectual property rights of who know these medicines. My attention was drawn to the fact that property rights are not so easily protected the way we define them, they are defined differently, but the protection of traditional knowledge is something that can also be established, on which we are going to be discussing with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, to protect the knowledge that has been accumulated over several generations, which is in the custody of traditional practitioners.
“By and large, this is a memo that meets a lot of demands and serves a lot of purposes.”
FEC also ratified Nigeria’s membership of International Coffee Organisation.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Industry, trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, who noted that with the approval, Nigeria now has full membership status at the organisation although it signed the agreement since 2008.
He stated: “My Ministry presented a memo on the need for us to ratify our membership of International Coffee organisation. We signed the International Coffee agreement in the year 2008 and yesterday, Nigeria had no ratified this agreement and the result of not having ratified, we only had observer status in the organisation and unfortunately there are a lot of things that come with full membership that the country had been missing on.”
The Minister said the ratification would now afford the country the opportunity to benefit more form the organisation and be actively involved in creating coffee policies on coffee trade worldwide.
He explained: “Now that the council has approved the ratification some of the benefits that will come to the country would include allocation of coffee development project, access to consultative fora on coffee sector finance, where our farmers will have access to where they can raise funds to improve farm yield, we will be in the for a where producing and consuming countries create policies relating to international coffee trade and we will also have access to statistical data of the world coffee trade and economy amongst other.”
Adebayo added that the ratification will enable Nigeria have access to fiancé for coffee farmers, so as to boos coffee production in Nigeria.He also said Nigeria has a lot of coffee growers in all geo-political zones of the country, with over a million farmers involved in coffee production.