The Federal Government has ordered banks and telecommunication companies to conduct environmental audits in their various domains to safeguard the environment and reduce toxic waste from the organisations.
It said toxic waste from the affected organisations had been on the increase, and that a meeting was held in Lagos earlier this week, which had officials of the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, banks and telecommunication companies.
The Director-General, NESREA, a Federal Government agency, Prof Aliyu Jauro, disclosed this in Abuja while speaking during the maiden edition of the National Environmental Compliance Award, organised by the organisation.
He said, “We met with operators in the telecommunications industry and banks. Both of these sectors impact the environment in the course of doing their business.
“When we talk about the telecommunication industry, we talk about radiation that affects human health, causing cancer and others. Also, they produce electronic waste and other forms of waste.”
He added that banks use a lot of electronics, such as computers, ATM machines, generators, printers among others and there was waste of these items.
Jauro added, “So, there is a need for them to ensure that whatever is obsolete is taken to the right place. We have collectors and recyclers who can create value from these wastes.
“The banks and telecommunication companies use generators that run on diesel and in one way or the other, they pollute the environment, emit toxic fumes to the environment, contributing to global warming.”
The NESREA boss stated that most of the firms do not take good care of their generator sites.
He said they often spill oil when servicing their generators, adding that with time the oil percolates down to the water level and ends up as source of pollution to drinking water.
Jauro stated, “When such water is consumed by humans or animals, it becomes a serious disaster. So, the activities of the telecommunication and banking industries are impacting on the environment, which was why we reached out to them.
“We asked them to start doing environmental audits and some of them have complied. The meeting was for us to sit together to enlighten them on the need for others to comply so that we can safeguard our environment.”
Meanwhile, Jauro stated that between 2012 and 2022, NESREA conducted environmental compliance monitoring as provided in the national regulations, on more than 8,122 corporate facilities, and sealed 269 firms for various environmental infractions.
He added that while many facilities had been sealed for violating the provisions of environmental laws, the agency, in the course of carrying out its mandates, had observed that some facilities were assiduously working hard in compliance with the national regulations on the environment.