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The trending global rethinking and policy actions tailored towards phasing out use of plastics in product packaging seem to be a no important issue in the industrial agenda of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
This is based on the fact that it is yet to come up with a policy on how to join other nations of the world in ending use of plastics.
Recall that United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has been at the forefront of the campaign worldwide and is working with many African economies to drive the scheme.
Besides, some mega conglomerates including the Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, currently has a strong programme to end use of plastics in packaging its products with the the establishment of PET recycling industries in Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Though it has been silent in advancing reasons why none of the recycling plant is planned for Nigeria, its highest continental market, environmental analysts say Nigerian government seems not to be serious in banning single use plastic items and products even though researches have shown that majority of drainage and waterfronts are infested with floating plastics.
Globally, plastic contents and associated pollution have been identified the major threats to the global ocean and water bodies including drainages.
Since recently, some countries with strong environmental policies are banning single use plastic items and products.
Coca-Cola is driving the PET recycling campaign on the back of industry collaboration and funding kick-started by the company and its main bottling partner across Africa.
However in Ghana, the Acting Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mr John Pwamang, says the country cannot put a total ban on plastics due to the large number of plastic industries in the country.
According to him, “If you look at the kind of manufacturing system we have in Ghana and the number of people that are employed, it’s not practicable to be banned outright but something can be done to ban certain uses that creates the maximum waste”.
Pwamang was speaking at a sensitization cleanup exercise held in Tema Fishing Harbour as part of the activities by the EPA to mark the 2019 World Oceans Day on Saturday on the theme; “Gender and the Ocean”.
The Director said, Ghana is focusing mainly on plastics this year because it was the major issue that affects fishing business and the government was putting good measures in place to limit the use of plastics.
He added that “The carrier bags are what we are going to target because carrier bags may be something that is very strong and can be used for long time but what we are having here are very light and we think that if we are able to stop the use of this carrier bags it can reduce our plastic load.
In Nigeria, the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), is an environmental agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria that was established by law in 2007 to “ensure a cleaner and healthier environment for Nigerians.”
However, efforts to reach the Director General/CEO, Lawrence Anukam, on the policy position of the agency in the phase out of plastics in Nigeria failed at press time.
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