The National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency in collaboration with the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria has intensified efforts to reduce plastic pollution in Nigeria.
This was made known in Ibadan on Monday, at a symposium hosted by FRIN in conjunction with NESREA and Forestry Association of Nigeria, Oyo State chapter, in commemoration of 2023 World Environment Day.
June 5 every year is set aside as ‘World Environment Day’ to raise awareness and promote initiatives to safeguard and conserve the environment.
The theme for the 2023 World Environment Day is ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’.
The Director-General of FRIN, Dr Zacharia Buba-Yaduma, in his opening remarks said plastic pollution had become a major environmental problem requiring immediate attention and action.
He noted that plastic pollution has become a global issue that affects not only the environment but also human health and the economy.
Buba-Yaduma called on governments, businesses and individuals to work together to find sustainable solutions for the protection of the planet and its inhabitants.
“Every year, about eight million metric tons of plastic waste ends up in our oceans, causing harm to marine life and ecosystem. This pollution also affects human health as microplastics have been found in food, water and even the air we breathe.
“One of the most effective ways to reduce plastic pollution is to reduce dependence on single-use plastic. Government can ban or restrict the use of single-use plastics such as straws, bags and utensils.
“Businesses and individuals can also take action by using sustainable alternatives such as biodegradable plastics or reusable containers and packaging, “he said.
Also speaking, a Researcher, Dr Peter Ogar, called on the government to encourage a circular economy that would be strengthened by the appropriate legislation.
He noted that such legislation should also canvass for research funds into the possibility of using recycled plastics to make valuable things such as roads and bridges.
Also, an environmental expert, Dr. Kehinde Aina, noted that Nigeria could only maintain her supposed leadership role on Africa, given that it builds enough recycling facilities in the country.
He said there must be strategic efforts toward reducing the generation of plastic waste as much as possible so as to reduce the amount that ends up in the ocean.
On her part, the Founder of Waste Museum, Ibadan, Mrs Jumoke Olowookere, said plastic waste contributes immensely to climate change which has caused food shortages, more health risks, loss of plants and animal species, severe storms, among others.
She called for the adoption of plastic reuse, recycling, upcycling, reduction repair and also refuse the use of plastic when possible to ensure a healthy environment.