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CSOs Want Federal Govt To Ban Indiscriminate Dumping Of Plastic Waste

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CSOs Want Federal Govt To Ban Indiscriminate Dumping Of Plastic Waste
CSOs Want Federal Govt To Ban Indiscriminate Dumping Of Plastic Waste

As various environmental challenges continue to ravage the world resulting in climate change and global warming, a group called Civil Society Consortium on Plastic and Environmental Management (COPEM) and civil society organisations, have called on the Federal Government to ban indiscriminate dumping of plastic waste in Nigeria.

This was part of the resolve of COPEM in partnership with Participatory Peace Initiative (PPI), Environmental and Rural Mediation Centre (ENVIRUMEDIC), and One Love Community Development (OLCD), at a one-day sensitisation workshop and press briefing on ‘Menace of Plastic Waste in Nigeria’s Fragile Environment’ at the weekend.

The forum had 25 CSOs in attendance to strategise and fashion out new ways to fight indiscriminate generation and dumping of plastic wastes, provide lasting and sustainable solutions.

Some of the demands by the CSOs include a strong political will among the nation’s leaders and the government’s sincerity in addressing environmental issues such as plastic waste disposal.

“With the current pandemic, there must be a united plan in mitigating these problems by disallowing the funding of dirty energy projects like waste-to-energy incinerators which endanger the health of citizens due to the release of harmful greenhouse gases, and poisonous chemicals such as dioxins and furans.

“The government should pursue solutions that genuinely protect and preserve the constitutional rights to health and a balanced and healthful ecology.

“Government should initiate a concerted efforts to coordinate together various laws, policies and international conventions/agreements to managing plastic waste,” they said.

The statement further reads in part, “The consortium calls on the government to provide a legal and policy framework to sustainably manage the Nigeria plastic waste and phase out single-use plastic bags and Styrofoam and to ensure that all plastic packaging in the market is recyclable or biodegradable by 2030.”

According to executive director, Participatory Peace Initiative and member of COPEM, Deacon Matthew Okwaje, an estimation of 500 billion plastic bags are used on a global scale. This has an extremely detrimental effect on the environment, wildlife, and quality of human life indeed.

“Plastic Materials are a major problem in today’s generation. It remains in our environment for hundreds of years and pollute our lands, waters and the very air we breathe, plastic have become a threat in our mother nature including mankind, wild life, and mostly, marine life.

“It is spreading like a disease that has no cure. Humans should realize the impacts of plastic pollution so that all of us can avoid and prevent the consequences of our actions.

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“Everywhere you see has plastic on it including your appliances in your home, your school supplies, and even the plates and cups that you use for eating. Plastics are non-biodegradable synthetic organic compounds that are malleable,” Okwaje said.

Also speaking on the menace of and effects of plastic waste on the environment, the Chief Executive Director, Environmental and Rural Mediation Centre and member, Chief Monday Ogheneruona Itoghor, pointed out that government needed to be more aggressive, responsive and promote genuine solutions to curb plastic production and consumption.

According to Itoghor, Nigeria alone generates 35 million tonnes of municipal solid waste annually as reported by Lagos Waste Management Agency (LAWMA), which 10 to 15 per cent is basically plastic materials.

The ENVIRUMEDIC boss also emphasised that the worrisome problem on the environment was becoming disastrous as growing environmental problems have become a major threat to health of Nigerians, hence government needed to find effective solutions as the issues demand urgency.

However, he pointed out that there are major challenges confronting recycling interventions in Nigeria including lack of public awareness about the recycling value chain; inadequate collection infrastructure especially in remote locations; high cost of logistics; lack of finance; and inadequate implementation of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Programme, a policy placing responsibility on producers to manage the lifecycle of their products.

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“In other words, government should mainstream the above mentioned challenges in any policy framework for sustainable plastic waste solutions,” he stated.

Another stakeholder, the Executive Director, One Love Community Development (OLCD), Dr Agboro Andrew, acknowledged that Nigeria was the fourth nation to key into the Davos Agenda and signed on to launch a National Plastic Action Partnership (NPAP) but no action was taken.

“We will be delighted to see that government fast track a fantastic national effort against plastic pollution.

“What Nigerians need are real and urgent solutions to this plastic crisis. We can no longer afford any more excuses and delays. While individuals and Local Government Units are doing their part, the state needs to make efforts by passing a comprehensive law banning single-use plastics. This policy will significantly advance other local efforts to preserve and protect our environment,” Andrew said.

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