Kalu’s Bill proposing Gov’t reward for persons, organisations who keep environment clean gets first reading

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Kalu’s Bill proposing Gov’t reward for persons, organisations who keep environment clean gets first reading

From Kenneth Udeh, Abuja

Governments at all levels shall reward persons and corporate organisations who have made outstanding achievements in the prevention and control of atmospheric pollution or in the improvement of the atmospheric environment, following the presentation of a bill on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday.

The proposed law is sponsored by Senator Orji Uzor Kalu representing Abia-North and it seeks to Amend the National environmental standards and Regulations enforcement Agency (Establishment) Act , 2007 to provide for the prevention and control of Atmospheric Air pollution and other related Matters Thereto Bill 2024.

When amended ( Section 20-(2) of the Principal Act) all corporate bodies and private individuals shall be obliged to protect the atmospheric environment and shall have the right to report on or file charges against bodies or individuals that cause pollution to the atmospheric environment.

Kalu’s bill, which was the first business of the day, was granted first reading shortly after it was introduced to the Senate by the Leader of the Senate, Opeyemi Bamidele. Afterwards Clerk of the Senate , Chinedu Akubueze read the short title of the bill and President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio declared the first reading of the bill.

According to the explanatory memorandum of the bill made available to the SUN the Act which establishes the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency for the effective enforcement of standards, Regulations and all national and international agreements, treaties, conventions and protocols on the environment to which Nigeria is a signatory.

The Senate Chairman on Privatisation noted that when amended the Act will be empowered to make the Agency more effective for the prevention and control of atmospheric air pollution and other related matters.

The bill aims to amend 13 clauses of the 16 year old principal Act of the NESREA they are; sections 1, 2, 3, 7 ( c ) , 9, 10 (1), 11 ( c ) , 16, 20 ( c ) , 21 ( 1 ) , 21 ( 2 ) , 37 and 38.

Additionally, proper definitions of words and phrases will be provided for in section 37 of the bill and also clearly specify that disposal shall include both land based disposal and dumping in waters and airspace of Nigeria.

If assented to, hazardous substances means any chemical, physical or biological radioactive materials that pose a threat to human health and the environment or any such substance regulated under international conventions to which Nigeria is a party or signatory e.g. Montreal Protocol, Rotterdam Convention, Stockholm Convention etc.

The memorandum also stated that Section 2 of the Principal Act is amended by inserting “The objective of this Act shall be to ensure that the Agency is strategically positioned to protect all the natural resources of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the degree necessary for the, Protection of public Health,safety and well-being of all citizens; Prevention of injury to plant and animal life and to property; Protection of the comfort and convenience of the public and the protection of recreational resources of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Development, attraction and expansion of industry, commerce and agriculture and; To provide research and technical assistance to enable the control of air pollution at its sources.

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