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Experts back call for new treaty to curb plastic menace

By Victor Gbonegun
07 December 2020   |   4:05 am
Environmentalists have backed a proposed global treaty that will mitigate and stem the rising tide of plastic waste.

Environmentalists have backed a proposed global treaty that will mitigate and stem the rising tide of plastic waste.

The UN Eenvironment Assembly, which set up the ad hoc working group (AHEG) on marine plastics in 2017, concluded that the existing international legal framework governing plastic pollution, including the Stockholm and the Basel conventions, is fragmented and ineffective.

Speaking on the development, a senior researcher at the Centre for Environmental Studies and Sustainable Development (CESSED), Lagos State University, Dr. Michael Ahove, said such initiative is long overdue.

He said one of the fastest ways for people who live in riverine areas, especially those who like fish, to get killed is by feeding on plastics.

According to him, if nations don’t act now, by the time the implication comes, people might be having children that are highly deformed because of bioaccumulation of plastics in the future.

Dr. Ahove however, said there could be bottlenecks in implementing such conventions as people are often not attuned to change.

He noted that there was need for aggressive education of communities on the dangers of plastic pollution.

The Director, Technical Programme, Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Dr. Joseph Onoja, expressed the belief that any efforts galvanised towards ending plastic pollution, especially the single use, is important because plastic pollution has become a menace in the conservation space and a major problem to the terrestrial body, the oceans and water bodies in the society. He said with the rate of its pollution, by 2050, we might have more plastics in the oceans than fishes.

Onoja said the political will must be there to implement any convention on plastic pollution as it has economic implications for manufacturers, marketers and even consumers, as people might not want to easily detach from the use of plastics.

He expressed hope that with the possible change of administration in the US, there could be change in the US direction when it comes to issues of the environment.

According to an international environmental management consultant, Prof. Edem Eniang, several countries have banned the use of plastics while those who haven’t done outright ban, have gone ahead to ban the single use of plastics.

He emphasised that beyond treaty, Nigeria must start to look at options and practical utilisation of plastics to help build the resilience of the environment.

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