The Federal Government, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), and Japan have signed an agreement to promote sustainable plastic value chain through circular economy practices.
Chief Sharon Ikeazor, Minister of State for Environment, at the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Abuja said the project would address plastic pollution in Nigeria.
According to her, the project is timely as the global community is making concerted efforts in developing an international instrument to address plastic pollution holistically and sustainably.
“Nigeria, with a population of over 200 million people generates about 32 million tons of solid waste per year.
“The country also generates 1.15 million tons are plastic wastes and with little or no segregation which are illegally dumped in open spaces including drainages.
“Such wastes are healthcare wastes in dumpsites and burnt openly with an estimated 340 thousand tons ending up as marine litter,” she said.
According to her, these unwholesome practices have been linked to the perennial flooding across the country, increased respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, increased incidences of cancer, loss of aquatic life, among others.
“The large volume of plastic waste being generated in the country presents circular economic business opportunities across the plastic value chain which should be properly harnessed for job/wealth creation.
“Also, it also holds prospects for the establishment of micro, small and medium scale enterprises, private sector investment including foreign direct investment in addition to preventing/reducing plastic leakages to the environment.
“One of the ways to realise this potential is to support the industry by demonstrating benefits of adopting circular economy practices with innovative technologies including recycling technology or alternative material production”, Ikeazor said.
Mr Oluyomi Banjo, an environmental expert in UNIDO Regional Office, in a presentation said plastic litter was a major global environmental problem which had rapidly increased.
He spoke on “Promoting Sustainable Plastic Value Chain through Circular Economy Practices” in Nigeria”.
Banjo said that plastics originated mostly from land but also released into the marine environment and can affect the ecosystem and blue economy.
He said that when mismanaged, plastics were a source of Green House Gas emissions, while the open burning of plastics emits toxic chemicals.
Also speaking, Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Matsunaga Kazuyoshi, said the project would enhance the value of the Gulf of Guinea and boost Nigeria’s prosperity.
In a message of goodwill, Mr Jean Bankole, UNIDO representative and Regional Director, Nigeria Office, said that the organisation would support the Nigeria and its partners in translating the agreement into concrete actions.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the project has duration of 36 months and a budget of 319,000,000 Million Japanese Yen, approximately $2,901,527.
The Federal Ministry of Environment ministry is the main counterpart while key partners are the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment; National Environmental Standards Regulations and Enforcement Agency and Abuja Environmental Protection Board.
Others are Lagos State Waste Management Authority, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance and Waste Management Society of Nigeria.
By Vivian Emoni