The Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), on Thursday, charged its accredited environmental consultants to be more professional in their conduct to effectively tackle challenges confronting the State or be shown the way out.
The General Manager of the Agency, Dr. Dolapo Fasawe, who stated this during a mandatory virtual Masterclass for the accredited environmental consultants, noted that the theme of the event, “The Ideal and Best Practices of Environmental Consulting in the 21st Century”, is apt, bearing in mind the relevance of the consultants as core stakeholders that can either make or mar the agency’s quest of realising her mandate of protecting and managing the already fragile ecosystem.”
“It’s very pertinent for our accredited consultants to work professionally, prepare and submit environmental reports that are genuine, truthful with authentic data, that reflects and confirms true use of the environment by their clients. We appeal to you, to perform your duties with utmost patriotism and desist from all acts of plagiarism, as the government relies on your information to formulate policies that safeguard the environment”, she disclosed.
She warned that any consultant who fails to comply with outlined guidelines, would not only be discredited but also penalised for unprofessional conduct.
According to her, the agency has adopted measures such as the installation of plagiarism software to detect copycats, review of reports electronically, acceptance of only analysts from certified laboratories, submission of the report not exceeding two months from date of preparation and inclusion of Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) in Environmental assessment reports for gas skid plants, fuel retail stations and hotels to meet the trending challenges.
“It’s unacceptable for accredited consultants to allow the unaccredited consultants to use their registered name or a platform for an environmental consultancy among other unethical practices”, she asserted.
On his part, a renowned environmentalist and University of Lagos Don, Professor Babajide Alo, said that accredited environmental consultant must protect the interest of all parties without bias, noting that the reports by the experts are taken based on informed regulations, legal context, knowledge and technology, which must be aligned with new ordinances, laws, and regulations.
“They should assess the existing operations and create unique plans to reach environmental-related goals. They must also assist to track the overall progress of the operations to communicate their sustainability performance, but unfortunately, the reverse is the case as they performed lower than average practices”, the Varsity Don lamented.
He further condemned unethical action such as tampering, fabricating and replacing data, use of unverified data, submission of false or inaccurate reports and seeking gratification from the public.
In her presentation, the Chief Operating Officer of Environ Watch Consulting Limited, Mrs. Oyenike Ojuolape Shobowale, said transparency is essential in writing a credible environmental report, adding that the report must be produced in a balanced and transparent fashion.
“The report must be clear and concise about the importance and reason for data collected. Assumptions, methodologies, and reference data used must indicate which parts of the organisation the data relates to; where applicable, information relating to environmental performance against financial performance. It is also to identify the risks and opportunities that arise from the impact on the environment and the impact on the organisation while recommending a strategy that addresses these risks”, she said.