Rivers State Government has urged the Federal Government to strengthen the federal environmental laws and apply punitive measures to dissuade the abuse of the environment.
Delivery a keynote address on “The Role of Education in Achieving Sustainable Ecology in the Contemporary World”, at the first-concluded 22nd Theology week of the Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA), Port Harcourt, Rivers State Governor Chibuike Amaechi said that it was only through strong environmental laws and punitive measures that individuals and groups who see Nigeria as a dump site for scrap and toxic wastes would be permanently waded off.
The Governor, represented by the former Commissioner for Energy and Natural Resources, Dr. Dawari Adawani George, asked the Federal Government to take the bull by the horn to stop gas flaring in the county, stressing that a situation where the government is dillydallying with such a sensitive policy issue was most unacceptable.
He said all relevant oil multi-nationals, must be made to put an end to gas flaring and commence the cleaning up of the Niger Delta area of oil spills.
Governor Amaechi noted the important role of education in achieving sustainable ecology and advocated for the inclusion of environmental education as a compulsory element in the school curricula.
He observed that to create an environmentally conscious society, the collective effort of every body was required.
“It is important to note that creating an environmentally conscious society can not be achieved only through formal education sector. Rather, it must be stated that the informal educational sector also has a big role to play.
“Consequently the family institution, religious institutions and faith based organisations, town unions and community based organisations, voluntary youth organisations, civil society organisation, non-governmental organisations, the media, and vocational training institutions all have a role to play in creating a sustainable ecology”, he said.
He highlighted some critical steps taken by his administration to address ecological challenges in the state. These include: Green programme/tree planting campaign, massive ecological friendly educational infrastructural development, waste to wealth scheme, shore protection projects, pro-active action against oil spillage, provision of alternative energy source, advocacy, proper urban planning, regulations, amongst others.
He promised to embark on more environmental projects if voted into power during the next general elections.