Environmentalist calls for adoption of Ecobricks to curb plastic pollution



An environmentalist, Mr Emmanuel Emechete, has called for the adoption of Ecobricks to address the issue of plastic pollution in the country.

Emechete, a recycler and climate change expert, made this call in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Thursday in Lagos.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, says: “An Ecobrick is a plastic bottle packed with used plastic to set density to create a reusable building block.

“Ecobricks can be used to produce modular items, including furniture, garden walls and other structures.

“Ecobricks are produced primarily as a means of managing plastic waste by sequestering it and containing it safely, by terminally reducing the net surface area of the packed plastic to effectively secure the plastic from degrading into toxins and microplastics.’’

Emechete said that owing to a large amount of plastic generated in the country, the adoption of Ecobricks was one way to tackle plastic pollution.

“According to a publication by Voice of America in September 2019, Nigeria generates an estimated 32 million tons of solid waste per year, one of the highest in Africa.

“Of that figure, plastic constitutes 2.5 million tons.

“These figures show there is a high supply of plastic material for use.

“If we adopt the production of Ecobricks it would be one of the methods to reduce the waste from pet/plastic bottle, though, it is not a perfect solution,’’ Emechete told NAN.

According to him, when Ecobricks is adopted to build a house, it helps to reduce the number of pet bottles and under plastic waste on the streets in urban areas.

Emechete called for concerted efforts to address plastic pollution, saying: “there is no single approach to solving plastic pollution issues’’.

He said that some of the people producing pet bottles or plastic indiscriminately, were not concerned about the state of the environment, but only do it for business sake.

“They are in it for profit; so in the long run, they do not want the use of pet bottles to stop.

“I have been in the recycling work for more than two years now, both as an advocate, activist and a volunteer.

“Many recyclers see the business angle of recycling, but may not be willing to embrace research or policies to stop the use of pet bottles and nylon bags,’’ Emechete said.

According to him, many entrepreneurs and technopreneurs have taken advantage of this and started up business ideas and provide solutions to tackle plastic waste.

“But the question to be asked is: `is it to reduce the use of plastic or to make money from the problem at hand’?

“If their aim is to reduce plastic, then, what happens when the rate of plastic wastes reduce drastically? Do they close shop?

“If it is later, then, I can say that these people would not want the reduction of supply of plastic waste,’’ Emechete said.

Edited by: Abdulfatah Babatunde/Olagoke Olatoye


Environmentalist alerts Nigerians to dangerous effects of emissions from vehicles



An environmentalist, Mr Emmanuel Emechete, has warned that the increasing vehicular exhaust fumes in the atmosphere posed grave health hazards to the public.


Emechete in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Lagos warned that the emission of exhaust fumes from vehicles in our environment was on the increase.


“These exhaust fumes contain green house gases such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, water vapours, and oxygen in unconsumed air, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, unburnt fuel, and particulate matter that are usually released into the atmosphere in smaller quantities.


“These gases are harmful to the environment; contribute to depletion of the ozone layer and also inimical to human health and life.


“What is worse is that some of the vehicles we use in Nigeria are not road worthy.


“They are more harmful as they release more harmful gases to the environment. Some of them are used for public transportation and convey quite a number of people from one place to another.


“Some of these vehicles are so bad that the passengers inhale the fumes emitting from them or it gets into their eyes.


“This, in turn, will result in serious health issues if such passengers are continually exposed to the fumes,” the environmentalist told NAN.


Emechete, therefore, suggested a reduction of vehicles on nation’s highways and embracing other modes of transportation like the waterways and trains for movement of passengers.


“Everyone is responsible for the increasing exhaust fumes released into the atmosphere and we all have roles to play to stop this menace.


“We can reduce the increasing exhaust fumes in our environment by reducing unnecessary vehicular movements.


“Any meeting or event that can be done through e-mail, call or online platforms should be embraced to reduce movement to physical event.


“We need to start taking advantage of available technology tools and work from home.


“We need to shift from the mentality of having to see people or things physically before you can communicate or engage in trade.


“Corporate organisations need to be very much involved in this. There are several offices that can operate 100 per cent online if they would just try that option, but many of them have began to open offices.


“We should move forward from where the pandemic has brought us and start doing things differently just as we did at the outbreak of the pandemic, but this time because of climate change which is a greater threat than COVID-19,” Emechete said.


Also, the environmentalist called for more sensitisation and advocacy on the dangers of emissions exhaust fumes.


“We must start advocacy on the dangers of fumes, we must impart knowledge, capacity and sensitisation in order to take necessary actions such as refusing to board bad vehicles and not purchasing bad vehicles notwithstanding its affordability.


“We need the government and regulatory agencies to enforce environmental policies that would help reduce the emission of green house gases from bad vehicles.


“If we can achieve this, then we would have moved one step closer to switch to using electric cars and bio-fuelled vehicles,” he said.

Edited By: Bayo Sekoni/Peter Dada (NAN)
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Environmentalist tasks youths on training of environmental sustainability



An environmentalist, Mrs Temitope Okunnu, has called for the enlisting and training of young people as promoters and stewards of environmental sustainability in the country.

Okunnu, the initiator of Foundation for a Better Environment (FABE), an environmental advocacy organisation, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Lagos.

She said the establishment and improvement of an eco-conscious generation that was committed and dedicated to the restoration, conservation and protection of the environment were very important.

“It is important we engage young people in the identification and facilitation of sustainable solutions to the problems caused by the impact of climate change affecting biodiversity in Nigeria.

“It is time people start looking at nature as something that is not abstract as the COVID-19 pandemic researchers have discovered that being in nature has a great impact on human health.

“We want our youths, who are the future, to understand this and also be stewards in promoting environmental sustainability and biodiversity conservation among others.

“We believe children can promote environmental sustainability in the future if taught early and if the awareness is created early, she said.

According to the environmentalist, with early information, the youth can now be stewards of sustainability, agents of change in the environment and promoter of conservation and a circular economy.

Okunnu said following the COVID-19, children were engaged in a ‘Green Challenge’ to proffer solutions to environmental and climate change issues.

“With prior knowledge of technology, the youths can now proffer solutions and innovations to make sure that the environment does not get depleted.

“We came up with the ‘Green Challenge’ 2020 virtually, to challenge youths on the issues of biodiversity in line with the World Environment Day theme.

“We had the children participate in the Green Challenge via the Zoom digital communication and we were able to have an online debate on biodiversity.’’

She expressed the belief that sustainability could be promoted via technology.

“By engaging the children in a recent zoom meeting, we had about 190 participants, apart from the debaters and panel of judges.

“We know that technology has enhanced the way we live in so many ways but we want these youth to know that nature still has the upper hand.

“We are looking at a way that nature will not deplete because the environment is depleting daily, owing to various human activities.

“We want children to learn the importance of preserving nature,’’ Okunnu said.

She said that it was important for the youth to know why biodiversity should be topmost in their minds despite the pandemic.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
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Environmentalist urges LASG to adopt measures, implement environmental, biodiversity protection policies



Matemilola, a Researcher and PhD Candidate at Brandenburg University of Technology, Germany, made the call at a Zoom Meeting organised by the Lagos Chapter of the Nigerian Institution of Environmental Engineers (NIEE).

The programme was to commemorate the World Environment Day (WED).

Matemilola said that Nigeria was signatory to various international conventions on biodiversity and environmental protection which must be implemented to achieve a balance in economic, public health and safety.

He stressed the need for enforcement of policies and regulations aimed at protecting and preserving biodiversity and the environment.

The environmentalist commending Lagos State for establishing Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency as well as other agencies, called for sustained efforts toward harnessing the huge available untapped biodiversity opportunities.

Matemilola said that Nigeria occupied a unique geographical local which gave it ecological advantages of having different climates important for the nation to advance in agriculture, medicine and almost every aspect of the economy.

He regretted that Nigeria was not harnessing the opportunities of its ecological and biological diversities for development, calling on Lagos State Government and other states in the federation to do more.

“Lagos is basically a coastal flood plain ecosystem, which is vital, because they host most of the diverse species on earth. Flood plain ecosystems are biodiversity hotspots and supply multiple ecosystem services,’’ he said.

Matemilola listed weak economic and environment policies, weak institutional capacities to implement environmental policies as some of the constraints to having sustainable environment.

“Finance is a very big problem generally; so, there is need for improved funding for conservation of biodiversity and environmental protection.

“These are recommendations to put Nigeria and particularly Lagos State on right footing again; first is the improved management of protected areas like national parks and nature reserves important for the conservation of biodiversity.

“Capacity building for regulators and empowerment of local communities for better integration in conservation to be able to carry out assignments efficiently,’’ he said.

Also, Mrs Abiola Kosegbe, Chairman, Lagos Chapter of the Nigerian Institution of Environmental Engineers (NIEE), said the meeting was aimed at tackling huge environmental problems globally impacting Nigeria negatively.

“Our precious biodiversity is being lost because people, the world over, have not advocated enough and acted for a healthier environment.

“From beach clean-ups to mass tree-planting to ban of Single-Use plastic bags to management of declining wetlands, we all still have to do more,’’ Kosegbe said.

The NIEE National Chairman, Mr Olalekan Ajani, in his keynote speech, stressed the need for environmental engineers to continue to raise awareness for a sustainable environment.

“Nature is essential to every aspect of human life and wellbeing, people are taking more from nature than they want to give, and as a result, we are putting our own lives on line if we are not very careful.

“It is time for nature, let us protect our biodiversity, nature fills our souls, provides inspiration, joy, peace, contemplation and solace.

“Nature is essential is for our quality of life, and provide both material goods and none material support such as cultural services, environment is our mother and we must take care of it,’’ he said.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)
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World Environment Day: Expert calls for actions in biodiversity protection



An environmental activist, Mr Emmanuel Emechete, says there is the need  for more proactive actions in biodiversity protection in the country.

Emechete made the assertion  in  an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Lagos,  in commemoration of the 2020 World Environment Day (WED).

NAN reports that WED is aimed by the United Nations to encourage worldwide awareness and actions to protect the environment.

It is celebrated every June 5.


The theme for this year’s celebration is: “Biodiversity: Time for Nature“.


Biodiversity is the foundation that supports all life on land and below water.

According to him,  biodiversity is a call to action to combat the accelerating species loss and degradation of the natural world.

He added that about one million plant and animal species risked extinction largely due to human activities.

The expert called on Nigerians to take biodiversity serious and stop seeing nature only as a source of foods, raw materials and extra income.

”We need to do more about biodiversity as a country; we must take definite and proactive actions in protecting our environment and wildlife.

”We do not understand the importance of protecting species of animals and plants. All we think about is what is good for food or can bring in income. This ought not to be so.

”What we basically perceive nature for in Nigeria is food, medicine and basic source of raw materials.

”We fell trees without replanting  and poach wildlife without a thought of the specie going into extinction. We basically do not take enough actions to protect biodiversity,” he told NAN.

Emechete, who also called for the enforcement of policies to protect the environment and nature, said that more actions toward protecting the environment would be to the benefit of all.

”We need to do something significant in terms of actionable plans to protect nature  and the environment from our end.

”We have not done any significant work in biodiversity in Nigeria. I am not talking of paperwork and reports,  but meaning practical actions.

”We have a few polices against tree felling, but the question is: Are they being implemented?

”Sometimes some forest guards  even take bribes to allow people to  fell trees,” he said.

Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu (NAN)Ijeoma Popoola
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