Nasarawa State Government has set up a taskforce geared towards tackling the menace of plastic pollution in the state.
Mr Yusuf Madiko-Kadon, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment stated this when a coalition of NGOs staged a rally to the ministry on Monday, June 5, 2023, in Lafia, in commemoration of the 2023 World Environment Day.
He said the taskforce would go round the state to enlighten the people on how to handle plastic waste with a view to effectively recycle them in order to preserve the environment.
The permanent secretary said the state was collaborating with private sector firms to recycle plastic waste.
“We have a plastic collection site at Ungwan Rere in Lafia where the recycling firms can source for production,” he said.
The permanent secretary said that the plastic waste recycling would be done under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
Earlier, Mr Envo Emmanuel-Okolo, Executive Director, Beacon Youth Initiative (BYI), who led the rally, said the theme of the day, “Solution to Plastic Pollution,” highlighted the need to accelerate solution in addressing the global impact in the world through sustainable action.
He noted that Nigeria had experienced adverse climate condition, adding that women, girls and people with disabilities were disproportionately exposed to environmental hazards and increased environmental health risks.
“Today, BYI has organised this walk to create awareness and highlight the needs of women, young people and people with disabilities.
“We are giving a voice to these groups to demand effective and sustainable actions from relevant authorities.
“We use the occasion of the 2023 WED to encourage the use of sustainable alternative and to put pressure on the authorities for strict enforcement of the law to mitigate impacts of plastic pollution in Nasarawa State.
“Each one of us can make a difference. Every gesture counts. Let’s say no to plastic bags and adopt an environmentally friendly way of life,” Emmanuel-Okolo said.
He, however, commended the development of a National Action Plan on Gender and Climate Change for Nigeria as well as the domestication of the drafted Nasarawa State Climate Change Policy.
In a related development, an environmental NGO, Bridge that Gap Initiative, on Monday stressed the need for strong political will, implementation of effective laws and policies to address plastic pollution.
The Executive Director of the organisation, Ms Gloria Bulus, made the call in an interview in Kaduna to mark the 2023 World Environment Day (WED).
Bulus said that the call was in line with the 2023 commemoration, which focuses on solutions to plastic pollution under the campaign theme, “#BeatPlasticPollution”.
She said that the theme calls for urgent solutions to combat plastic pollution which was harming both animal and human health.
According to her, the menace of plastic pollution was taking a toll globally, including Kaduna State in Nigeria.
She said that Kaduna State was faced with poor waste management with plastic constituting most of the component of waste generated.
She stressed that the absence of strong political will, laws and policies has created a gap in addressing issues around plastic pollution in the state.
“Our challenges on how to curb plastic pollution is because of the lack of capacity to switch to more environmentally friendly products in the place of plastics.
“There is also the problem of insufficient knowledge on the harmful impacts of plastic, as well as the absence of alternatives for consumers and the public,” she said.
The executive director stressed the need for massive awareness campaigns, using the media and other communication strategies to deal with the challenge.
She suggested that switching to biodegradable products, including effective waste management, up-cycling and recycling would play a key role in addressing plastic pollution.
“Manufacturing companies that produce or utilize plastics especially for packaging of their products can be made to take responsibility for their waste in line with the “polluters pay principle”.
“This will ensure that reparation is assigned to companies or manufacturers responsible for producing pollution.
“As we commemorate the 2023 World Environment Day, let us brace up and take our responsibility to protect the earth, #BeatPlasticPollution and give the environment a new look by keeping it healthy,” she said.
Bridge that Gap Initiative seeks to build sustainable communities by reducing gaps in opportunities and basic rights for the vulnerable population.
The organisation is achieving this through the acceleration of the fight against poverty.
It is also integrating intervention that promotes cooperation between relevant stakeholders to undertake development projects, ensure citizens engagement, equitable access to opportunities, and minimizes environmental degradation.
By Sunday John and Philip Yatai