The United Nations Development Programme has urged those living in Abuja and adjoining communities to curtail the reckless disposal of plastic in the city.0
The UNDP in partnership with Pearls Learning Hub, a capacity development initiative, warned that if plastic waste is not curbed, it may derail the sustainable development goals as a whole.
The Chief Executive Officer of the hub, Ibukun Odusote, said this during the project opening event sponsored by the UNDP, and noted that the careless disposal of plastics is causing great harm to the environment, food sources and to health.
She said, “Plastic is piling up in landfills and entering the food chain. Microplastics have now been found in human blood, raising the risks of cancer and developmental disorders. We are poisoning ourselves and the planet.
“In 2015, plastics released 1.7 gigatons of carbon dioxide. That is set to more than triple by 2050 to about 6.6 gigatons – 15 per cent of the global carbon budget to keep within safe limits ‘.
These concerns, the sponsors revealed, expedited the need to engage about 400 youths over seven months in its ‘Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme’ meant to cut down on the amount of plastic waste in Abuja and the neighbouring states.
They noted that the project by the UNDP is taking place under its Global Environment Facility Small Grants Program with a project grant to Digital Peers International and a partnership with Pearls Learning Hub, and will be phased into different stages till October when the best teams would have emerged.
According to Ibukun, the IT-engaged youths will bring to bear their problem-solving skills, creativity and innovative ideas to tackle the problem in Abuja and its environs, after which three teams with the best solution will be massively rewarded.
She explained that the GEF small grants programme is providing a platform to ensure that participants are taken through lectures and interactions to help FCT and environs develop initiatives that will tackle plastic both at source and post-consumption.
The programme, she said, will feature ideas around “minimizing the use of disposable cutlery or plastic straws, bringing reusable bags for shopping and carrying a reusable water bottle.”
Also speaking, the National Coordinator, UNDP GEF SGP, Ibironke Olubamise, said the organisation has a special interest in the youths as they are focused on “raising climate champions”.
She said at the end, it is hoped that participants will become advocates for effective plastic use and waste management, beginning with simple habits such as cutting down on the existing plastic print.