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Audit identifies Coca-Cola, PepsiCo among five top polluters in Lagos

The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, CWAY Group, Viju Industries and Rite Foods have been identified as the top five polluting parent companies in Lagos.

Participants at the Brand Audit and clean up exercise

This formed part of the outcome of a Brand Audit and clean up exercise, which also listed the top five polluting brands to include CWAY, Mr V, Coca-Cola, 7-up and La Casera.

The exercise was undertaken by Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development (SRADev) Nigeria on November 7, 2023, in collaboration with Waste Pickers of Lagos (ASWOL) and Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), which hosted the event at its Transfer Loading Station at Agege.

The exercise also showed that food packages (bottle/sachet components) amounted to 3,538 plastics and constituted about 99% of the plastic brand pollutants identified and audited. Household products, packaging materials and personal care products amounted to 39 plastics and constituted about 1% of the plastic brand pollutants.

The audit revealed that majority of plastic types were Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), which amounted to 1,296 plastics. Polypropylene (PP) and Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) amounted to a total of 1,024 plastics. The least amounts of plastic types were Polystyrene (PS) and High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) which were 46 plastics and two plastics respectively. Other plastic types (such as, bottle labels) amounted to 1,209 plastics.

Bottling companies in Nigeria contracted by international brands include Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC), Planet Bottling Company, and Seven-Up Bottling Company, which bottle products for Coca-Cola, Monarch Beverages and PepsiCo respectively.

The emergence of alcoholic drinks dispensed in sachets were also identified as a growing environmental hazard, contributing to pollution.

A total of 44 participants were mobilised as volunteers for the exercise. These comprised 14 LAWMA staff, 19 ASWOL members, six SRADev team members, four volunteers and a media representative. A total of 27 participants were male and 17 were female.

The president of ASWOL, Mr Friday Oku, emphasised that waste generated from multi-layered plastics (MLPs) are increasingly becoming a menace, due to limited value attached to the plastics. A LAWMA representative commended the initiative and acknowledged the importance for addressing plastic waste challenges.

A total of 3,577 plastics were audited. The plastics comprised food and household products, packaging materials and personal care products.

The objectives of the exercise include raising awareness about health effects of plastic pollution; providing data on plastic polluting the environment to help identify the companies responsible; holding corporate organisations accountable for plastic pollution; and, urging further action to eliminate single-use plastics through regulatory action in Nigeria.

The Brand Audit is an annual event organised by Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) and Break Free From Plastics (BFFP) (GAIA/BFFP plastics campaign) aimed at building a world free from plastic pollution.

The brand audit exercise is a participatory citizen science initiative that involves recording data on plastic waste majorly polluting the environment towards advocacy for effective plastic waste management. The audit involves documenting the brands found on plastic waste to help identify the companies responsible for plastic pollution.

The brand audit demands that top polluting fast-moving consumer goods corporations need to reveal the full extent of their plastic footprint, reduce it significantly by setting and implementing ambitious targets and, most importantly, redisign their packaging materials to be reusable or plastic-free.

SRADev Nigeria, being a GAIA/BFFP core member, participates in the brand audit exercise by identifying a commercial place to clean-up and audit plastic waste collected.

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