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MPs set to reject move to make water firms cut sewage discharges

sewage

MPs set to reject move to make water firms cut sewage discharges

The government is to reject calls to place a legal duty on water companies to reduce raw sewage discharges into rivers.

MPs will debate the environmental bill on Wednesday in its final stages through parliament, and clean water campaigners want them to back what they say is a key amendment on sewage that was agreed in the House of Lords.

In 2020 raw sewage was discharged into waters more than 400,000 times over a total of more than 3.1 million hours. Sewage pollution is a key component of what MPs have heard is a chemical cocktail of pollutants going into rivers.

The bill will govern environmental policy ranging from rivers to waste to air now that the UK has left the EU. Surfers Against Sewage, part of a coalition of groups pushing for the amendment to be accepted on Wednesday, said it was crucial to ensure action to tackle sewage pollution started now.

But the environment secretary, George Eustice, has recommended MPs reject amendments to the bill.

Other amendments include strengthening the independence of a new watchdog, the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP), which will enforce laws on air, water and waste. Before Brexit these laws were policed by European courts, which prosecuted governments that breached them.

Ministers have said the OEP will be similarly independent, but the bill allows them powers to “advise” the new body.

Hugo Tagholm, of Surfers Against Sewage said: “In this most important of environmental decades, it’s shocking that the government is recommending that MPs reject progressive and ambitious amendments that would protect water, air and nature.

“Why wouldn’t they want water companies to have a legal obligation not to pollute our rivers and ocean with sewage, for example? It beggars belief and hardly shows a commitment to be the greenest government ever. It’s time for more ambitious thinking and law that builds protected nature back into public ownership rather than leaving it to the ravages of shareholder interests.”

The government has accepted an amendment extending powers to set charges for single-use items so it includes all materials, not just plastic, something Ruth Chambers of the Greener UK coalition said was welcome.

But Chambers said: “The decision to reject almost all of the improvements made in the Lords is hugely disappointing, particularly on the eve of Cop26. It seems the government is still determined to pass a bill that will see weaker domestic protections for people and nature, and particularly in the way that crucial environmental laws are upheld and enforced.”

A government spokesperson said: “Our landmark environment bill will transform how we protect our natural environment, make better use of our resources and clean up our air and water. We have listened very carefully and we’re now bringing forward changes which improve the bill and demonstrate our global leadership ahead of Cop26.”

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Environment

134 Dead, 76,887 Houses Destroyed As Flooding Hits Jigawa

Heavy flooding in Jigawa State has resulted in the death of 134 persons and destroyed 76,887 houses.

The deputy governor of the state, Alhaji Umar Namadi disclosed this when he hosted the United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) official, Rahman Rihub Mahmud Fara on Saturday.

He said the state lost property worth more than N1.5 trillion to the floods.

A total of 22 roads and 11 bridges were completely washed away by the floods, he said.

The deputy governor said an entire village was also completely destroyed.

He said the flood affected 272,189 people, out of which 76,887 lost their houses.Mr Namadi said Kirikasamma and Birniwa local government areas are greatly affected.

UNICEF chief field officer in Kano, Katsina and Jigawa, Mr Fara, said they came to assess the situation and see what could be done to alleviate the suffering of the communities affected by flood in the state.

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Environment

NEMA Confirms Four Dead In Mushin Building Collapse

The three-storey building which collapsed on Friday in Lagos killed four persons.

This is according to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

The agency said one other person was rescued in the building that collapsed on Oye Sonuga Street, Palm Avenue, in Mushin, Lagos.

NEMA South-West Zonal Coordinator, Mr Ibrahim Farinloye, revealed that those who died were two males and two females.

Earlier, the Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr Omotayo Bamgbose-Martins the cause of the collapse would beinvestigated.

It is learnt that the three-storey building built 40 years would be pulled down immediately for safety reasons and to forestall further collapse, said Bamgbose-Matins.

He has therefore, ordered the Lagos State Building Control Agency and the Lagos State Materials Testing Laboratory to unravel the cause of the collapse.

 

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Environment

Flooding Displaces 2000 In Nasarawa Communities

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Heaving flooding in some communities in Nasarawa state has caused the displacement of about 2000 people.

The Chairman, Doma Local Government in Nasarawa State, Ahmed Sarki-Usman who spoke on Friday during an assessment visit to the affected communities said the incident happened on September 20.

He said his visit was to ascertain the level of damage caused by the flood to report the situation to the state government for necessary action.

“It is unfortunate that the flood destroyed houses, farmlands, produce and other valuables worth millions of naira. Many inhabitants of the area affected by the flood have deserted their homes and are now camping at primary schools as temporary sites. What my people are facing is completely devastating,’’ he lamented.

Sarki-Usman urged people in the communities to remain calm as the government would soon assist them.

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