As the World marks 2018 Earth Day, the Federal Government has expressed commitment towards phase-out of non- biodegradable plastics.The Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jibril stated that the government is exploring the possibility of banning plastic bags with availability of alternatives.He urged Nigerians to take action to end plastic pollution, adding that plastic pollution is poisoning our oceans and land, injuring marine life, and affecting our health.
Jibril said that the Federal Ministry of Environment in collaboration with critical stakeholders has developed a national strategy for the phase-out of non- biodegradable plastics and presently developing a National policy on Plastic Waste Management.
He also revealed that the government is also implementing a National Plastic Waste Recycling Programme to establish plastic waste recycling plants across the country in partnership with state governments.
He said that eight plants have already been completed and handed over to the states while 18 others are at various stages of completion. Federal Government is also collaborating with States to establish plastic waste recycling plants under the community based waste management programme of the Ministry.
Two plants have been completed in Ilorin, kwara State, one in Lokoja, kogi State,while work is on-going in Karu LGA of Nasarawa State. Other location include Bola Jari in Gombe State and Leda Jari in Kano State.
Meanwhile, a renowned environmental activist and founder LUFASI nature park, Mr. Desmond Majekodunmi who spoke during a clean up exercise in Majek community, said that reusing, recycling and separating plastic wastes will save the earth more harm.
Mr. Majekodunmi called for a top-bottom approach; from the government to the people if policies are put in place can ensure that plastic pollution is reduced.He urged the government to emulate the British economy that is gradually phasing out plastics and nylon usage and engage more in recycling wastes to generate more income and job opportunities for the teeming population.
Deputy British high commissioner to Nigeria and environmentalist,Mrs. Laure Beaufils said that the day is important for people to reflect on their livelihood, jobs and health. “ Billions of tons of plastics are thrown into the oceans as a result of that our fish are eating plastics, fishermen are not able to earn a living. It is important for us to clean up our environment and celebrate the beauty of our coasts and the diversity of life and animals.”
Narrating his venture into recycling wastes, CEO Recycle point, Mazi Alison Ukonu said, “If only wastes are sorted properly before disposing, we will achieve a whole lot in recycling.
“We focus in plastic wastes and reward people who come to us with them for recycling. As they earn points and grow they stand the chance if getting household items like washing machines and generating sets. It is important for us to treat our environment right and we hope that this initiative will encourage more people to keep their surroundings clean.”