Lagos, Jul. 17, 2020 An environmentalist, Mr Gafar Odubote, has suggested a gradual phasing out of plastic usage to tackle the menace of pollution through the creation of adequate modalities rather than outright ban.
He said that putting an immediate ban on single-use plastic was not feasible as a gradual phasing out would go a long way in curbing the pollution.
“We are currently doing a lot of awareness creation through webinars on plastics pollution reduction as the environmental community has tagged this month’s campaign `Plastic July’.
“Putting an end to single-use plastic in Nigeria is currently not feasible because we need a time frame to work out the modalities on the ban of single-use plastic in the country.
“A lot of Nigerians’ livelihood depend on the plastic products value chain to survive. There are a lot of business chains attached to plastic products.
“We can start the reduction of plastic pollution in stages, for instance, we can begin with ban on nylon bags and then gradually go on to stop the use of single-use plastic bottles,” he said.
Odubote also called for the provision of alternatives to single-use plastic before an outright ban was enforced.
He called for the provision of adequate infrastructure to reduce plastic pollution in the country.
“In creating alternatives for single-use plastic, we do not have adequate infrastructure to produce the alternatives.
“We still need time to create adequate alternative for plastic products.
“Single-use plastic bottles can be eradicated easily when we set up water fountains at strategic places for people to access potable water to reduce dependence on plastic bottle water.
“If these infrastructures are not put in place, people will have no choice but to continue to patronise bottled or sachet water which in turn increases plastic pollution of our environment.
“Most Nigerians still do not know how bad plastic pollution has affected our environment.
“For example, the recent flooding in Lagos was attributed to plastic bottles blocking main drainages and waterways.
“The people should not place all our environmental issues in the hands of the government, we should take responsibility in clearing our drainages and gutters to forestall this pollution and imminent flooding.
“Then, when it comes to disposal of the plastic cleared from the drainages, the government needs to empower the local authorities to enforce adequate disposal of the plastic products.
“We also should not downplay the aspect of awareness creation on plastic pollution but also need the adequate infrastructure to address this menace.
“We need to also sensitise people on indiscriminate littering of plastic products so as to encourage proper sorting of waste to reduce the population.
“We need to target those at the grassroots that are directly impacting the environment.
“The market woman, the manual labourers, students and even children need to be educated on the negative impact of single-use plastic on our environment,” he said.
Edited By: Razak Owolabi/Grace Yussuf (NAN)
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