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Environmentalists commend NBC’s plastic waste management initiative

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(Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

Against the backdrop of rising environmental pollution caused by indiscriminate dumping of plastic wastes, environmentalists and stakeholders in Nigeria’s manufacturing and waste management sectors have applauded the Nigerian Bottling Company Limited (NBC) for its plastic hazard eradication initiative.

The stakeholders during the annual NBC stakeholders forum themed, ‘Packaging and Waste Management: Key Drivers, Challenges and Solutions’ held recently in Lagos, commended the company for leading efforts to ensure the eradication of the menace of plastic waste in the country.

The keynote speaker, who is the Special Adviser to the Ogun State governor on Environment, Ola Oresanya, appreciated the company for holding the forum, saying it would go a long way in entrenching the culture of internal self-regulation in the fight against plastic waste.

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“I appreciate NBC for their consideration for the environment by organising a forum for open conversations around issues affecting the environment. NBC has demonstrated its commitment towards finding a solution to the issue of waste management in Nigeria. This is commendable because not many manufacturers have this kind of forum where the facts can be laid out,” he said.

The Minister of Environment, Mahmood Abubakar, represented by the Director of Pollution Control and Environmental Health, Charles Ikeah, also commended the company for being at the forefront of the fight against environmental waste.

He highlighted the Federal Government’s commitment to awareness creation, enforcement of relevant regulations as well as provision of an enabling environment for private sector participation.

President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Ahmed Mansur, urged other organisations, particularly in the manufacturing sector, to emulate NBC’s commitment to rid the environment of plastic wastes and prioritise the lifecycle of their packaging materials in their production processes.

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Managing Director of NBC, Matthieu Seguin, said the NBC would continue to collaborate with key stakeholders in the plastic packaging and waste management value-chain to ensure that challenges in the waste management ecosystem were converted to viable economic opportunities for Nigeria’s teeming population.

“Our goal is to recover 100 per cent of our primary packaging and recycle 50 per cent by 2030,” he said.

He, however, called for industry wide collaborations to ensure the sustainable management of plastic waste.

Commenting on its recycling strategy, Sustainability Director for the brand in Africa, David Drew, said the beverage giant plans to achieve a world without waste by ensuring recyclability of plastic bottles, reduction of plastic in secondary packaging, reduction of weight of bottles and building collection points for proper waste disposal and sorting.

Affirming the Lagos Waste Management Authority’s (LAWMA) contribution to environmental sustenance, the Lagos State Commissioner for the Environment, Tunji Bello, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of the Environment, Belinda Aderonke Odeneye, harped on the importance of proper and continuous recycling of all recyclable waste, noting that this would save society from filth and diseases.

She revealed that LAWMA has now moved the waste management war to the schools for inclusion. “We have a manual for teachers to train students on how to sort waste in their schools and dispose them properly,” she added.

In her remarks, the Executive Secretary, Food and Beverage Recycle Alliance (FBRA), Agharese Onaghise, extolled the social responsiveness of NBC to societal cause, particularly in the environmental sustainability space and charged all stakeholders to take active part in the battle to mitigate plastic pollution in Nigeria.

“This is a collective responsibility, a whole value-chain. FBRA is working with over 10 collectors across Nigeria but we need to do more; we need to work in all states in Nigeria.”

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