The Ebonyi State government through its ministry of environment will soon establish a plastic recycling plant, and when this is done, the state will become the first state in the South-East geo-political zone to do so.
Addressing a press conference last week, the state commissioner for environment, Dr. Paul Okorie, announced the delivery of a plastic recycling plant to the state government. The equipment was donated by the federal ministry of environment. Okorie, an engineer, noted that his office in collaboration with the ministry of lands, survey and housing were in the process of concluding arrangements to acquire a permanent dump site in order to install the plant. This will bring to an end, the use of a temporary dump site along the Abakaliki-Enugu Expressway, which he said had constituted an eye sore in the state capital.
Further enquiry on the project led LEADERSHIP to the premises of the state ministry of works and transport, where the plastic recycling machines are presently kept pending installation.
In an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP, Okorie noted that everything concerning the cost implication of installing and running the plant, the engineering works and environmental impact assessment, would be provided by the contractor that would install the machine.
He said that the contracting firm which works under the strict supervision of the federal ministry of environment is currently working on similar project in Bayels State, adding that the state is eagerly waiting for the contractor to arrive and commence work on the installation of Ebonyi Recycling Plant. The commissioner, however, assured that money would not pose any hindrance to the realisation of the project. According to him, the state government had made a provision of N250 million in this year’s budget for take-off of such projects.
He said: “We made provision for installation of such machine, even the land preparation and other things to assist anybody or any organization that is ready to partner with us.
“So we are waiting for the contractors to come and see the land and start the construction of a small building they are supposed to have constructed. They are currently working in Bayelsa state”.
Okorie said that there would be a sorting section when the machine is installed. This according to him, is to separate bio-degradable and non-bio-degradable materials.
“Definitely people will be sorting the plastic materials and polythene bags as well as the PVC materials, so definitely there will be some bit of sorting”.
On the process of getting the land he said, “We have acquired the land, but the ministry of lands, survey and housing is in the process of concluding all the basics of acquiring the land vis-à-vis payment of compensation for economic crops etc. So they are on it now. The ministry assured me last week that very soon the land will be without any encumbrance, so that we can move in.
“The importance of the plant is that first of all it will minimise waste; you pick all these plastic materials, and you recycle them into new plastic products. You keep recycling and recycling.
“Secondly, it will provide employment for people and it will improve the economic base of the state no matter how little”.
The commissioner said that the state government will work out the procedure regarding how the establishment will be run; whether it will be on the basis of Public Private Partnership (PPP) or solely run by government. He further said that the state government had already procured two garbage trucks and 30 garbage bins at the cost of which have since been N34 million.
He also said that Governor Martin Elechi, had just recently approved the sum of N54 million for three swing arm garbage trucks and 50 garbage bins for better coverage of Abakaliki capital city, noting that the ministry would soon take delivery of the equipment and deploy same for better coverage of the city.
“The ministry had recently employed some refuse workers following approval by the state government. Those workers so employed will help in strengthening the operations of the ministry as well as help in putting the procured equipment to optimal use,” he added.
The commissioner similarly announced that the federal ministry of environment last year donated to the state government, various seedlings worth millions of naira, noting that his ministry and Ebonyi State Environmental Protection Agency (EBSEPA), would this week commence massive planting of the trees and assorted flowers.
While expressing gratitude to the federal government for the refuse recycling plant and seedlings, the commissioner explained that the state ministry of environment is steadily transforming Abakaliki city from its filthy state to a clean capital city that all residents and visitors would be proud of.