Lagos-based environmentalist Idu Okwuosa has called on Federal Government and corporate organizations to support plastic recycling initiatives as part of efforts to curb environmental disasters.
‘The perennial ecological problems of flooding and erosion, arising from indiscriminate dumping of garbage in waterways and oceans, can be mitigated, through recycling and other modern waste management schemes,’ she said.
Okwuosa, founder of LasGidis Recyclers who stated this, recently in Lagos, said ‘plastics are non-biodegradable materials that pose serious dangers to both man and the ecosystem.’
She spoke at workshops organised in Lekki and Ojo areas to sensitize the public on the benefits of recovering syntethic polymer products.
‘Nigeria is the seventh largest producer of plastic wastes,’ which according to latest global reports, ‘threaten the nation’s oceans and aquatic habitat.’
She stressed the need for governments at all levels and corporate bodies to synergize in tackling the menace, by intensifying the recycling campaign, through the media, schools, hospitals and public institutions for effective interventions.
‘Our organisation, the waste management arm of SFQ Ventures Limited, has hosted over 100 events involving about 1000 volunteers and youths, in pursuant of zero-tolerance to plastic pollution.’
‘Recycling is the panacea for indiscriminate disposal of wastes. Hence the vision of the organization, which is a social enterprise, is to ensure a cleaner Lagos, where people sort their garbage at home, before they are evacuated by Lagos Waste Management Agency (LAWMA).’
She reiterated the position of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on the need for synergy between the public and governments in tackling the scourge which ‘poses serious dangers to human health and the world.’
‘Most domestic and industrial wastes are not recycled or incinerated in waste-to-energy facilities. Therefore they end up in landfills, water bodies and bellies of fishes, even as they release toxic chemicals into the biosphere, because they decompose over hundreds of years.’
Researchers in Germany warned that the impact of micro-plastics in soils, sediments and freshwater could have a long-term negative effect on such ecosystems. They say terrestrial micro-plastic pollution is much higher than marine microplastic pollution – estimated at four to 23 times higher, depending on the environment,’ the agency stated in a report.
According to her, our objectives are also in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), on achieving a safer environment through proper waste disposal.’
Okwuosa said ‘the project is also committed to empowering participants. Currently, over 80 percent of our workers are women and the project offers them the opportunity to earn a living from picking plastics. We also partner with schools to encourage parents and children to pick plastics and bring to schools.’
‘Our focus is to entrench a new culture of waste recycling, as preventive measures against flooding, epidemics and related ecological disasters.’
‘The initiative is in tandem with the Basel Treaty and campaign against mismanagement of toxic materials. These poisonous litters are hazardous, therefore, they should be properly disposed because of their negative consequences,’ she added.
Also speaking, Master Diebube Chukwuka, a volunteer, expressed delight in the exercise saying, ‘when we recycle plastics, we are actually saving humanity and our world from obnoxious pollutants.’
According to him plastic waste is a global burden particularly in Nigeria and other developing countries, who have become dumping grounds for lethal substances.
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