‘Collective action will reduce plastic pollution’


Experts seek campaign to increase recycling
Buoyed by the disruptive impact of plastic and the need to reduce its effect, environmentalists have called for a collective action against single –use plastic products.

They expressed worries that the world is daily confronted with problems arising from plastic pollution, stressing that about 300 million tonnes of plastic wastes are produced each year.

In another forum, environmentalists have called on the federal and State governments to promote campaign that would improve its recycling and cut pollution.

The experts made the call at the World Environment Day Celebration, organised by Friends of the Environment (FOTE) in collaboration with the conservation club of the Federal Science and Technical College (FSTC), Yaba and the West African Seasoning Nigeria PLC and others in Lagos.

The seminar featured over 1,000 stakeholders including students from some secondary schools across local governments of Lagos state and environmental activists.

Leading the call, the Director, Centre for Environmental Human Resources Development (CENHURD), University of Lagos, Prof. Babajide Alo explained that plastic pollution has become an epidemic issue, as every year people throw away enough plastic to circle the earth. Much of that waste, he said doesn’t make it to a landfill, but end up in oceans and seas, where it is responsible for killing one million births and 100,000 marine members yearly.

Prof. Alo said the solution to the problem is to embark on consistent advocacy for the people to understand that the solution to plastic waste is to recycle them.

“The current alternative is single use of plastic. By this, we mean that if you go to a supermarket to buy things, put them in a plastic bag and do not throw away the plastic but use them another day. We should use things that are biodegradable and recycle plastics that we come in contact with”.

Also speaking, the Founder and Chairperson of the Friends of the environment (FOTE), Mrs. Joanna Maduka, said the organisation recognises that solutions to plastic pollution will differ from community to community, as will the learning environments in different areas. She said FOTE created the seminar to draw attention of the participants and students’ environmental clubs on scourge of plastic waste and its effects on bio-diversitie

According to them, it is time for Nigeria to move towards circular economy since the Federal Government is already taking positive action against plastic pollution, by approving a new list of industries eligible for tax exemption which include, waste management/ recycling companies.

Leading the call at an event organised by Society For Environmental Toxicology and Pollution Mitigation (SETPOM) at the University of Lagos to mark the 2018 World Environment Day (WED) themed: ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’, SETPOM president, Dr. Funmilayo Doherty said, it is estimated that 60m per cent of the estimated 8.3 billion tonnes of plastics produced world wide end up in the environment with about 8 million tonnes of plastic eventually finding their ways into the earth ‘s water bodies.

She said there is a shift from production of durable plastics and glass bottles for packaging to plastics meant to be thrown away after a single use.
Dr. Doherty expressed worries that, pharmaceutical companies no longer use glass bottles to package medicinal syrup, they now use plastics, hence plastic use is part of our daily life and we have become particularly addicted to single us and disposable plastic.

She stressed that the world is waking up to the problem and that governments are beginning to act.

She called for positive action on the part of companies, manufacturers and people to reduce the use of single-use plastics as well as to reduce the use of plastics for the packaging of their products.

“Last year, when there was so many rains In Lagos state, so many drainages were blocked because of plastics, which caused a lot of flooding at the same times some fishes and aquatic organisms take up the plastics which these clubbed up the systems of these aquatic

Also, the Chairman of Lagos Branch of Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria (ISPON), Mr. Timothy Iwuagwu said there is need to go beyond talking to start practicing in order to mitigate the effect of plastic pollution in the country.

He called for good practices that can help the environment.

In the lecture, Head of Corporate matters, Nigeria Bottling Company (NBC), Mrs. Abiodun Peters described the celebration as a global commitment driven by international organisations towards beating the plastic solution.

Meanwhile, Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti , said the World Environment Day celebration offered the opportunity to rededicate national efforts to the sustainable development of the environment.

The Commissioner who was represented by the Special Adviser to the Governor on the Environment, Mr. Babatunde Hunpe said “Plastic Pollutants create serious environmental and health hazards by threatening marine lives”.

Expressing the need to reduce the use of plastic products, Durosinmi Etti urged Lagosians to find alternatives and aggressively seek ways to eradicate the menace caused by the products and therefore make the environment more livable for all and for future generation
He also appealed to Lagosians to support household and community recycling with the reuse of plastic related materials to reduce the effect of plastic pollution in the environment.

The state also initiated an Environmental Award tagged ‘’Lagos Green Award’’ to recognise and honour individual, groups and organisations that contributed to the sustainable development of the environment.

Winners in different categories were selected through nomination by members of the public of deserving Individuals, group and organisations that had impacted directly on the environmental resilience of Lagos State in various areas, including Property Management, Environmental Innovation, Manufacturing amongst others.

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