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Groups urge federal government to ban single-use plastic in 2021

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Sitting L-R. Mrs. Adeola Akinsola of LAWMA; Director, Lagos state Ministry of Environment and representative of the Commissioner for the Environment,Mr. Adeoye Babajide; Mrs. Oguntola J.O and Executive Director FBRA, Agharase Onaghise; while standing are the members of GAIA Nigeria during the three-day workshop on addressing plastic pollution in Lagos.

Civil society groups have urged the Federal Government to ban single-use plastic by 2021.

They rejected the 2028 date as contained in the proposed National Policy on Plastic Waste Management, saying the ban should start with styrofoam, microbeads, and carrier bags, which have no economic value (recycling) potential.

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The groups said the proposed policy should be adopted and approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to give way to the promulgation of appropriate regulations on plastic waste management in the country.

They met at a workshop on civil society’s perspective to addressing plastic pollution in Nigeria organised by the Global Alliance for Incineration Alternatives (GAIA) Nigeria made up of Centre for Earth Works (CFEW), Green Knowledge Foundation (GKF), Pan African Vision for the Environment (PAVE), Environmental Rights Action (ERA) and Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development (SRADev Nigeria).

The forum attracted participants from government, civil society, industry, and the media among others, to deliberate on addressing plastic pollution in Nigeria (both virtually and on-site).

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Nigeria is ranked sixth highest country producing unmanaged plastic. Several countries including developing ones are making effort to change the narrative through banning, production, and importation of single-use plastics.

Plastic pollution is a global menace throughout its entire lifecycle, with health and environmental implications which include cancers, endocrine disruption, diabetes, obesity, developmental issues, reproductive dysfunction, and respiratory diseases, among others.

In a communique issued after the workshop, the groups expressed the need for referenceable disaggregated data on the number of plastic products being manufactured, used, and imported in the country.

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According to them, there is an urgent need for civil society to fill the identified gaps in the proposed policy on plastic waste management before its adoption by the FEC.

“There is an urgent need for standard operating procedures/guidelines for the plastic recycling/management sector. The effectiveness of the management of plastics in Nigeria requires an inclusive approach, which should entail the collaboration of different stakeholders at the grassroots level, including community, religious and political leaders.”

The groups further said the government, civil societies, and corporate bodies should take the lead to sensitise the general public on the public health implications of plastic waste.

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