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By 2050, Nigerian waters will have more plastics than aquatic lives – Researchers

Researchers say there will be more floating plastic on Nigerian waters than aquatic lives in the next 50 years unless the nation adopts proper management and disposal of plastics.

Plastic waste pollution
Plastic waste pollution

The scholars spoke during a Circular Plastic Economy Innovation Hub Stakeholders Engagement Workshop on Tuesday, August 22, 2023, at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State.

Dr Adedapo Adediji, a researcher at Pan African University Life and Earth Sciences Institute (PAULESI), said burning of plastic caused air pollution hazardous to human’s health.

According to him, it is better to turn the plastic to useful materials.

“In the next 50 years, there’ll be more floating plastic in the ocean than fishes which would terminate the water body and very dangerous to environment.

“Government alone cannot do it, that’s why we are sensitising stakeholders like government representatives, academia, students, people in the industry that produce plastics and the likes.

“To stop scattering plastic anyhow, stakeholders needs to be engaged by find meaningful way of gathering them together and drop them at the collation centre,” Adediji said.

For Dr Olukunle Babaremi, also a PAULESI researcher, plastics in 100 years would not change it forms.

“By 2030, if care is not taken, we’ll have more plastic in the ocean than aquatic life.

“We need to give proper awareness to students on campus that this is a general problem that would affect everybody and would affect them too.

“We talk to them on culture of plastic that they should not throw it away anyhow because everything ends up in the drainage,” he said.

He said that grinded plastic could be reproduced to horticultural and concrete containers for construction sites.

He called on bottling companies making their money from plastics to support responsible recycling and disposal of plastic.

Babaremi also enjoined public support by disposing waste separately to make it easier for scavanger at collection points.

He appealed to NGOs supported by international bodies, plastic company, private sector businesses to give monetary incentives to scavengers supplying them with plastics.

Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor of OAU, Prof. Simeon Bamire, urged the scholars to evolve innovative ideas that would turn plastic wastes to a good source of revenue and promote a cleaner community.

Bamire explained that sustainable cities and communities as well as responsible consumption and production could not be fully achieved without controlling plastic wastes in our environment.

He said that plastic are dumped on daily basis on land often find their ways into the water bodies.

“The presence of plastic wastes in aquatic environment distorts sustainability of aquatic lives. Plastic pollution can lead to consumption of microplastics which poses imminent risks to human health.

“The devastating effects of plastic wastes on our environment cannot be overemphasised.

“Therefore, I am happy that our university is on this circular plastic economy project, which can be counted as part of our contributions towards achieving the UN-SDGs,” Bamire said.

By Dorcas Elusogbon

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