In order to eliminate poisonous gaseous emission into the air, the federal government yesterday rolled out the National Action Plan (NAP) for the reduction and eventual elimination of mercury use in the artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector of the country.
The government also on unveiled the national policy on solid waste management and national policy on plastics waste management.
The roll outs were done in conjunction and collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) with the presentation of the Nigeria's National Action Plan (NAP) on Mercury in the Artisanal and Small-scale Mining Sector (ASGM).
The NAP was successfully completed by the UNIDO in collaboration with the Federal Ministries of Environment, Mines and Steel Development, and Health, and the World Health Organisation, which is an obligation to the Minamata Convention on Mercury to which Nigeria is a signatory.
Speaking on the documents, UNIDO said it would chart a path to the future of gold mining and environmental sustainability in the country.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Olamilekan Adegbite, in his good will message at the event, said NAP on Mercury in the Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining (ASGM) is a well-articulated document which was put together based on baline data obtained from surveys of ASGM operators across the Nigeria gold mining belt.
He disclosed that the document is even more important as it has become a demonstration of the country's fulfillment of an important aspect of the Minamata Convention on Mercury.
According to Adegbite, the NAP on Mercury in the ASGM sectors in Nigeria was developed to provide relevant information on the plans of the government to "facilitate the improvement of the formalisation and regulation of ASGM sectors; promote reduction of emissions, release, and risk of exposure to mercury, manage trade and prevent diversion of mercury and mercury compounds."
He added that the document would involve stakeholders in the implementation and continuing development of the plan; develop public health strategy on the exposure of artisanal and small-scale gold miners and their communities to mercury.
According to the minister, "The document also serves to promote the exposure of vulnerable populations, particularly children and women of child-bearing age, to mercury in ASGM, and providing information to artisanal and small-scale miners and affected communities."
Adegbite, who was represented by the Director, Special Duties of the ministry, Mr. Yisao Adegboje, stressed the need for more collaboration and synergy to foster a more sustainable effort to promote public health and the environment against the harmful effects associated with mercury release.
On his part, the Minister of Environment, Dr. Muhammad Abubakar, said the documents would provide a veritable tool for making the environment clean.
Abubakar, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Abel Enitan, said: "Today's event is special and a big milestone because the development of the documents highlights the present administration's determination to ensure that Nigeria's current development priorities and objectives are focused on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)."