The Centre for Earth Works has called for an end to plastic pollution in Nigeria.
The Executive Director of the non-governmental organisation, Mr. Benson Fasanya, made the call at the clean-up environment campaign which was held in Jos on Saturday.
Fasanya, who led members of his organisation to participate in the clean-up exercise at the Jos Wild Life Park, as part of the activities to mark the World Clean-up Day, said that the campaign was aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of plastic pollution to the wellbeing of Nigerians.
In an interview with The PUNCH, Fasanya lamented the indiscriminate use and dumping of plastic materials among Nigerians without them realising the inherent danger in such acts.
He insisted that as various countries mark the 2023 World Clean-up up Day, it was necessary for Nigeria to also add its voice to the cause and demand for an end to plastic pollution in the country
The Director said, ” As an organisation, we are concerned about the plastic ‘Tsunami’ situation we already have in Nigeria
“Everywhere you go, the use of plastic materials has become part of our daily lives in medicine, education, fashion and so on. All these plastic materials like bottles, straws, disposable cups, bags are in every corner.
“But the truth is that the impact of plastic wastes in our environment is very huge and causing a lot of harm to our health because they have a way of coming back to us.”
Fasanya said further, “It will interest you to know that plastics take between 600-1000 years to degrade. So if it takes such a long period before degrading and we are doing little to take it out of our environment, you can be sure it will cause more harm than good.
“What happens is that before they begin to degrade, they break down into microplastics and find their ways into animals especially aquatic animals like fish. And by eating fish that contains plastics, we are also eating toxic substances that are used in their production.”
The Director condemned the recent removal of taxes on plastic production and called on the government to reverse the action in the interest of the people
He also urged the people to change their attitude towards the use and dumping of plastic materials as a way of addressing the problem
Fasanya, who equally called on the government to ban single-use plastics in the country added, “One key thing is that recycling will not solve the problem of plastic pollution we have in the country at the moment because we know that 0.9 per cent of the total world plastic pollution is recycled which is very negligible.
“The soft drink producers have discovered that they can make more profits by using plastics and they prefer to produce new ones rather than recycling them because it is cheaper to do so. And that is why we are calling on the government to encourage more recycling systems and extend producer responsibility to clean up their wastes. The government should also support local innovations using local materials that are safer to use.
“It is important for people to get to know the dangers of plastic use in our environment and step up the efforts in managing solid wastes and cleaning up litter from the forests, rivers, streets and beaches, among others, for the safety of all.”