Delta state commissioner for environment, Mr. Chris Onogba, has said that to address environmental and ecological issues in Delta state, it is desirable that stakeholders in environmental management be organised to foster synergy of efforts so as to preserve the environment.
The commissioner mentioned environment issues to include sanitation and waste management, deforestation, erosion and flooding, pollution and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Onogba spoke during a one day stakeholders meeting on preserving the environment for sustainable development, an event organized by the ministry of environment and held at Orchid hotel in Asaba, the Delta state capital.
The commissioner, who is very passionate about clean and greener environment, called for concerted efforts by the stakeholders to sensitive the people of Delta state, government and non-governmental organizations to carry out activities to preserve the environment.
He mentioned planting of trees, greening cities, rewilding gardens, practising safe and proper waste disposal, recycling unwanted materials as well as cleaning up drainages, rivers and coasts as strategies to maintaining cleaner Delta.
He said everyone should be stakeholders in issues of environment, just as he insisted that if everyone is a stakeholder and take ownership of the environment, Deltans will see the need to maintain the santity of the environment.
According to him, “we have no reason not to have a clean environment. When I leave office I want to look back and see a better, cleaner environment that will be appreciated by all.
“Everyone is a stakeholder in issues of environment because waste is generated in our homes. Hence, all stakeholders need to work together in issues of waste environment.
“We must all play our roles. We must take ownership for cleanliness of the environment. Once we take ownership, we become our personal police. Government should not waste money enforcing laws. We should all be conscious of our roles to our environment. We should not leave environmental issues to government alone.
“We are about 200 million people in Nigeria. As part of strategies to preserve our environment, we should plant trees in our environment. Plant five trees in your environment before you die so that you can go to heaven.”
Onogba explained that dropping refuse at the median is against the law, noting that there is no law backing dropping dirt on the road. He frowned at people dropping dirt saying people no longer bag refuse but deliberately drop them on the road.
He told the participants at the stakeholders meeting that the ministry has discouraged dropping refuse on the road.
Onogba also said the activities of dredgers have destroyed the environment. He told the participants that when his ministry moves to apprehend the dredgers, they give excuse of being regulated by the federal ministry of environment.
Permanent secretary of the ministry of environment, Dr. (Mrs.) Minie Oseji, said the stakeholders meeting was to achieve some strategies that will enable them synergise in the quest to preserving the environment.
According to her: “It will help us to know different agencies and their roles. Then, we delineate them and we see how we can complement each other instead of competing with other.
“The state is so wide that two MDAs cannot be in the same place doing exactly the same thing. So, we can delineate the state among the MDAs that have similar responsibilities and we have a coordinating meeting to see how far we are doing.
“If we find out that we are stagnant and we are not making progress, we come back to the drawing board and see what we have done right or wtong and see how we can improve.”