Worried by the rising problem of environmental pollution and degradation facing the country, a non-governmental organisation, Mary- Elika Foundation has floated an initiative to ginger state governments into action to address the environmental challenges in their areas.
The organisation said it has instituted an award known as the Nigerian Model Green State Award (NIMOGSA) and the Miss Green and Beautiful pageant aimed at promoting best practices in management of waste and other environmental problems.Addressing journalists in Abuja yesterday on the initiative, the Chief Executive Officer of Mary- Elika’s Foundation , Mrs. Mary Manzor, said there is no doubt that poor waste management, environmental degradation and oil polution have remained a serious problem in the country.
She lamented that the issue of environmental health is still at the elementary stage in the country, adding that more efforts and initiatives needed to be pursued to bring the people to the expected level.
She said what the country required is the pooling of resources and ideas by government, individuals and corporate private organisations to effectively deal with issue of environmental management.
Manzor said the Model Green State Award is a culmination of a two-year survey on environmental management carried out throughout the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
She said the NGO has come up with other initiatives such as street clean-up campaign where it informs people about the need to keep their neighborhood tidy.
The NIMOGSA award is meant to spur our leaders up to do more to keep the environment safe and sustainable.
“What we intend to achieve is that by recognizing our leaders especially in the areas where they have excelled in the waste management system, water supply and transportation. We realized in course of interaction on the environmental problems that most people do not really know what is perhaps need to be done about some of the problems. “ she said.
The benchmarks given to the states and which was certified by the Federal Ministry of Environment include, execution of waste management projects, like dump sites, recycling infrastructure and sewage treatment.
Apart from enactment of relevant legislation governing environmental development, the states are to be adjudged on their ability to develop clean open and green areas, drainages, erosion or ecological controls like gully erosion control and afforestation.
The environmental activist said 14 states out of the 26 states so far contacted by the NGO to participate in the biennial event, have agreed.
She said the foundation has sent its expert volunteers to the participating states to monitor and properly evaluate their performances in line with the set benchmarks.
Speaking on the issue of oil spill in the Niger Delta, Mrs. Manzor lamented the pollution of the environment by oil companies in the region which has almost damaged the entire ecosystem.
She the fact that these pollution go on without serious efforts to remediate them has compounded the woes of the people.
She said the organization is challenging the Federal Government to take more proactive measures to force oil companies involved in oil production in the Niger Delta region to ensure that they remediate polluted areas, so that economic activities and well-being of the inhabitants.
“The authorities should ensure that companies that engage in oil spillage but failed to clear it are summarily sanctioned to serve as a deterrent.
Mary Manzor said the foundation is also partnering with the Federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism to also use the pageant to promote the culture of the country.
According to her, the event will feature a Miss Green and beautiful pageant where the contestants to compete for the face of beautiful environment in Nigeria.
About ten of the contestants will be competing during the pageant in Abuja.
This year’s edition of the NIMOGSA which is the second, having debuted in 2010, is targeted at encouraging the youths to be environmentally responsible and to embrace various government initiatives meant to address damages to the environment.
The Mary-Elikas Foundation is an environmental NGO was founded in 2007, and has the amiable former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana as its chairman.