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FG, UNIDO unfold new policies on mercury, solid wastes

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The Federal Government and United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) have unfolded a national action plan on mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining for the country.

Besides, it has presented national policies on solid and plastic waste management designed to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases.

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The Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, who unveiled the policies in Abuja, applauded Global Environment Facility (GEF), UNIDO, World Health Organisation (WHO) and other international agencies for assisting in making the policies a reality.

Abubakar, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Abel Enitan, explained that action plans are keys in the transformational agenda of the government to protect its citizens from the deleterious effects of mercury.

“It is therefore imperative to develop these policies to promote principles of circular economy, which is a sustainable practice that aims at zero waste reduction and efficient use as well as reuse of plastic within its life cycle,” he added.

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Also, UNIDO Regional Director, Mr. Jean Bakole, said they are showcasing products of an effective partnership between Nigeria and others international agencies, to provide up-to-date situation analysis of gold mining.

He stated that the documents would provide local and foreign investors with current data; map out a way forward for gold mining and its associated mercury management as well as develop an effective public health strategy.

In a goodwill message, WHO’s Head of Mission, Dr. Walter Mulombo, stressed that the policies were in line with the Minamata Convention and called for a well-coordinated multisectoral plan and policies for implementation.

On her part, the Minister of State for Environment, Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor, noted that the documents would highlight the administration’s drive to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

She also said the new policies would remove the barriers to the effective growth of the sectors, saying, the policies would assist in facilitating diversification and repositioning of the economy.

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