In Nigeria, efforts to prevent plastic pollution have been stepped up by the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency and the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria.
This was revealed at a symposium held on Monday in Ibadan by FRIN, NESREA, and the Oyo State chapter of the Forestry Association of Nigeria (FAN), in observance of World Environment Day in 2023.
Every year on June 5, the United Nations observes World Environment Day to encourage environmental protection and awareness campaigns. The year 2023’s World Environment Day has the slogan “Beat Plastic Pollution.”
In his introductory remarks, FRIN Director-General Dr. Zacharia Buba-Yaduma stated that plastic pollution had grown to be a serious environmental issue that needed to be addressed right now.
Plastic pollution, according to Buba-Yaduma, is now a major global problem that has an impact on not only the environment but also human health and the economy.
He urged individuals, businesses, and governments to collaborate in order to identify long-term fixes for the protection of the world and its population.
Eight million metric tons of plastic garbage enters our oceans each year, harming the ecology and marine life. Microplastics have been discovered in food, water, and even the air we breathe, which means that this pollution also has an impact on human health.
“Reducing reliance on single-use plastic is one of the best methods to reduce plastic pollution. Single-use plastics like straws, bags, and utensils can be outlawed or subject to usage restrictions by the government.
“Businesses and individuals can also take action by using sustainable alternatives, such as biodegradable plastics or reusable containers and packaging,” he said.
Dr. Peter Ogar, a researcher who also spoke, urged the government to promote a circular economy that would be supported by the right legislation.
Ogar continued by saying that such legislation should also raise money for studies into the viability of using recycled plastics to create useful items like roads and bridges.
Dr. Kehinde Aina further pointed out that Nigeria could only continue to play the pretended leadership position in Africa if the nation installs enough recycling facilities domestically.
Aina stated that deliberate measures must be made to lessen the production of plastic debris and minimize the amount that enters the ocean.
The founder of the trash Museum in Ibadan, Mrs. Jumoke Olowookere, stated in her testimony that plastic trash makes a significant contribution to climate change, which has led to food shortages, increased health risks, a loss of plant and animal species, and severe storms among other things.
To preserve a healthy environment, Olowookere urged the adoption of plastic reuse, recycling, upcycling, reduction, repair, and also refusal of use.