In commemoration of the 2023 World Environment Day, the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency has partnered with the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria to intensify efforts in reducing plastic pollution in Nigeria.
This is as FRIN in conjunction with NESREA and Forestry Association of Nigeria (FAN), Oyo State chapter, on Monday in Ibadan hosted a symposium which was themed “Beat Plastic Pollution.”
In his opening remarks, the Director-General of FRIN, Dr. Zacharia Buba-Yaduma said that plastic pollution had become a major environmental problem requiring immediate attention and action.
Buba-Yaduma noted that plastic pollution has become a global issue that affects not only the environment but also human health and the economy.
He 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, Dr. Peter Ogar, a Researcher, called on the government to encourage a circular economy that would be strengthened by the appropriate legislation.
Ogar added that such legislation should also canvass research funds into the possibility of using recycled plastics to make valuable things such as roads and bridges.
Also, Dr Kehinde Aina, noted that Nigeria could only maintain her supposed leadership role in Africa, given that it builds enough recycling facilities in the country.
Aina added that there must be strategic efforts toward reducing the generation of plastic waste and as much as possible reducing the amount that ends up in the ocean.
In her submission, the Founder, Waste Museum, Ibadan, Mrs. Jumoke Olowookere, said that plastic waste contributes immensely to climate change which has caused food shortages, more health risks, loss of plants and animal species, and severe storms among others.
She also called for the adoption of plastic reuse, recycling, upcycling, reduce, and repair and also refuse the use of plastic when possible to ensure a healthy environment.