Environmentalist wants implementation of EPR policy to curb pollution

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An Environmentalist, Gafar Odubote, has called for the implementation of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policy to curb the menace of plastic and general waste pollution in the country.

Odubote, who made the call in Lagos on Tuesday, spoke on the importance of implementing the EPR policy.

The EPR policy was introduced by the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA).

The policy seeks to transfer the environmental cost associated with a product throughout the products entire life-cycle to the market price of the product.

According to Odubote, the implementation of the EPR policy is long overdue and its eventual benefit to the country is multifaceted and goes beyond the environment.

“EPR has been in existence for quite a while in developed countries and the Government of Nigeria started discussing about its implementation since 2016.

“The EPR is a laudable approach in tackling the menace of waste and pollution in Nigeria but it is taking time to have it fully implemented.

“The act is aimed at promoting a circular economy that will be beneficial to all and sundry but we are currently far from getting there.

“NESREA as the enforcement arm of the Federal Ministry of Environment in my opinion is not doing enough to bring the policy into full action,’’ the environmentalist said.

Odubote said that sensitisation, creation of awareness on the EPR policy and investment in research was necessary for it to be passed into law.

“The awareness on the existing policy is low while there is an inadequate investment on research and development in generating the appropriate data to support the policy implementation.

“There is a need to provide a level-playing ground for all the stakeholders affected by the programme. The effectiveness of the EPR is yet to be felt in Nigeria.

“In essence, if a producer dispatches 50 units of PET bottles in the market, then he is responsible for collection and disposal of 50 units of post-consumer plastic waste and this is not currently working,’’ he said.

To enforce it, he said the government must increase its efforts on awareness and stakeholder’s engagement and also bring to book the violators.