The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, an international network working towards a waste-free world without incineration, has called on the Nigerian government to ban single-use plastics in order to effectively reduce the rise in plastic pollution.
It made the call in Abuja during the INC-2 stakeholders engagement workshop that involved the Federal Ministry of Environment and operators in the sector.
INC is the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution under the United Nations Environment Programme. Its focus is to help manage the full life cycle of plastics, including their production, design, and disposal.
Speaking at the workshop, which had the theme ‘Nigeria plastic treaty post INC-2 Debriefing,’ the GAIA Clean Energy Campaigner for Nigeria, Weyinmi Okotie, said, “We are calling on the government to enforce an immediate ban on single-use plastics.
“The problem is not totally about plastics, but those plastics that you use once and dispose of. We are calling for a ban on such plastics, and there should also be a way to reduce the production of plastics generally.
“This is because if the volume of production is so high, it is going to overwhelm the system in Nigeria. The rise of plastic pollution across the country is becoming alarming.”
He pointed out that, as members of GAIA Nigeria, their advice to the government was to reduce the overall production of plastics to close the plastic tap.
According to him, “To ensure environmentally just and sound waste management, we must prevent the importation of plastic pollution and its associated toxic burden.
“Nigeria must advocate for the implementation of a comprehensive plastics trade tracking system. Encourage research and strong policy implementation to phase out single-use plastics.”
On his part, a senior official at the Centre for Earth Work, Benson Fasanya, stated that Nigerians discarded an average of 60 million water sachets daily, and this was causing enormous pollution across the country.
Fasanya said, “A lot of people think plastic waste can be managed through recycling, but the truth is that recycling has never been a solution.
“For instance, America has some of the best technology in recycling, but since plastic pollution started several decades ago, they’ve only recycled nine percent, and the global average is 10 percent.
“So it is obvious that we cannot manage this by increasing their recycling content, because it will not solve the problem. Rather, we need to reduce the production of plastics.