Prof. Lucy Ugbado, the Director-General, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), has said that a change in human consumption pattern and preferences is key to a zero waste, carbon neutral economy.
Ugbado said this while delivering her address of welcome at the inaugural edition of the Distinguished Environment Academic Lecture Series (DEALS) organised by the Department of Environment Biotechnology and Bio-conservation unit of the agency on Friday in Abuja.
Ugbado was represented at the occasion by Prof. Alex Akpa, NABDA’s Research Director, Medical Biotechnology.
According to her, advancements in biotechnology are playing strong roles in environmental sustainability nearly in all sectors of the economy.
“It is worth noting that the 8th and 12th Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) focus on economic growth and sustainable consumption and production.
“Consequently, visionaries are now talking of carbohydrate economy to replace the old hydrocarbon economy, meaning that human consumption patterns and preferences must change, if life must continue to exist on planet earth.
“No doubt biotechnology practices that are geared towards zero waste are among the technologies that support migration to carbon-neutral economy and must be given all the attention they deserve.
“This is to ensure that Nigeria’s name will not be missing on the list of countries that will be able to become carbon-neutral in the years ahead.’’
She said that Nigeria could not afford to be an on-looker today, hoping to remain an importer of biotechnology tomorrow as the case with fossil technology.
In his remark, Dr Kitan Oluwagbuyi, Councillor, Waste Management Society of Nigeria (WAMASON), FCT Chapter, said that pursuing
zero-waste economy was a pragmatic and visionary goal.
Oluwagbuyi said it would guide people to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials were resources for others to use.
” Zero-waste means designing and managing products and processes to reduce the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources and not burn or bury them.”
According to him, landfills tend to mummify their contents, severely prolonging oxidation and natural breakdown processes which can cause the outbreak of infectious and chronic diseases.
He said that to implement a zero-waste system, government must take the leadership role in developing and implementing legislation to support zero-waste targets.
He added that manufacturers needed to invest in new design technologies that produce durable and recyclable products that minimize waste while households should adopt waste reduction and recycling schemes in the home.
On her part, the organiser of the lecture, Mrs Gloria Obioh, the Acting Director, Environmental Biotechnology and Bio-conservation Department of NABDA, said it was organised to mark this year’s World Environment Day (WED).
Obioh said it was aimed at bringing topical issues in environmental management-related sciences to the attention of stakeholders interested in environmental sustainability and green economy.
She said it would play a role in re-awakening collective responsibility of enhancing sustainable environmental assessment and management as Nigeria strives to attain the 2030 Sustainable Developmental Goals and targets.
“Waste management is a cross-cutting issue impacting on many aspects of society and the economy, linking to the global challenges such as climate change, health, poverty reduction, food, resource security, sustainable production and consumption.
“Investment in the right technologies such as biotechnology, can enable mankind to mitigate climate change to attain global net zero-carbon emissions by the mid-21th century.
“NABDA, is therefore, taking strong steps to ensure that Nigeria does not remain a perpetual consumer of innovations from elsewhere but a major developer with intent to deploy these technologies to the citizenry.
NAN recalls that the theme of the 2016 World Environment Day was initially “Join the Race to Make the World a Better Place but was later changed to `Zero Tolerance for Illegal Wildlife Trade’.
This is to reflect one of the major environmental problems of Angola, which got the global hosting right.