The Lagos State University of Science and Technology, Ikorodu, has said plastic pollution is a serious global issue and needs to be drastically addressed.
This was made known during the 2023 World Environment Day, held at the school on Monday and organised by the College of Environmental Design and Technology, adding that actions being taken to protect the environment or even solve the already created problems were quite low.
World environment day is celebrated to encourage awareness and action for the protection of the worsening global environment.
The theme for this year as approved by the United Nations Environment Programme for this year’s (2023) World Environment Day is ‘Beat plastic pollution.’
While speaking on ‘Taking action: Harnessing innovation to beat plastic pollution,’ keynote speaker, Prof. Kolawole Raheem, revealed that Nigeria consumed about 1,250,000 tonnes of plastic annually.
He added that in Nigeria, of the 27.6m kilotons of municipal waste generated, about 13 per cent was plastic and only 14 per cent was collected for recycling.
Raheem also proffered innovative ways to reduce the problems of plastic waste, saying, “Circular economy concept and use of indigenous knowledge is necessary. Using vegetable leaves instead of synthetic packaging on a bigger industrial scale might cut down on carbon emissions, involving more stakeholders; churches, mosques, community leaders, traditional/cultural festivals, and market leaders.”
He added that some actions taken in other countries were “Imposing a ban on single-use plastic, the use of biodegradable plastics as an alternative material, landfill, and incineration taxes are levied to encourage recycling rather than dumping.”
Raheem maintained that higher institutions of learning should be supported to research and come up with remedies.
Dr John Adenle of the Creative Arts Department, University of Lagos, suggested that solid wastes including domestic wastes, automobile wastes, and industrial wastes should be harnessed.
Also speaking at the event, the founder of ehen Green Environmental Services, Mr Tosa ogbomo, called for more education and an increase in awareness, investments in collection infrastructure, and investments in technology.
He stated that there was a need for Integrated Solid Waste Management, saying it would provide a holistic approach to all waste streams thus maximising synergistic benefits in the collection, recycling, treatment, and disposal.