Some environmental advocates have called on the Federal and State Governments to find alternative and innovative ways of ridding the environment of plastic wastes.
The advocates made the call during clean up exercises at the Bonny Cantonment, Victoria Island on Saturday, September 19, 2020 in Lagos, as well as in Kaduna.
The exercise was carried out to commemorate the International Coastal Clean up Day marked annually on every third Saturday in the month of September.
One of the advocates, Dr Leslie Adogame, Executive Director, Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development (SRADev), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), called for the ban of single use plastics in the country.
“The government has to take bold steps to ban single use plastics and replace them with alternatives.
“We can no longer continue to die when we are alive by ingesting microplastics; corporate entities must have a paradigm shift away from plastics.
“This is not a sustainable way; plastic is not part of our system, because it is injurious to life, health and all life chain of this world, ” he said.
Also, the founder, Beach Samaritans, an NGO, Ms Adesola Alamutu, urged people to be part of the solution by consciously taking a reusable bag when they go out shopping.
Alamutu said: “One of the things I believe people can do is, when they go shopping and are offered plastic bags, they should refuse.
“The more the people who refuse, the less the plastic bags being used and thrown away.
“Also, the government needs to do a lot of enlightenment, especially in the major languages to educate people on the need to carry their bags when going out.
“Government should also ensure people are charged for the plastic bags; that way, people may be discouraged from using it.”
Similarly, the founder, Kids Beach Garden, an NGO, Ms Doyinsola Ogunye, said a lot of awareness creation should begin from homes, schools, religious institutions.
Ogunye said also that people need to be consistent and continue to do things to protect the environment in their own little spaces for as long as possible.
“We have young children and we need to let them know that plastic wastes littered everywhere and in our water ways is not the kind o environment to grow up, ” she said.
Mr Omotola Soares, Secretary to the Local Government, Eti-Osa, Imoyi, Obalende Local Community Development Area, urged people to support the government by being responsible.
Soares said that the government had carried out a lot of programmes to ensure the environment was clean.
“The government cannot do it alone; we all need to work together and take responsibility of our environment, because the environment defines who we are, ” he said.
In his remarks, the Director, Media and Online Visibility, Humanity Nigeria, an NGO, Mr Akinola Onanuga, said the organisation would be carrying out an enlightening programme from Nov. 24 on dangers of plastics.
He said: “We are bringing up the Earth Festival in order to rid the environment of plastics and enlighten people that these plastics can be recycled and made into wealth instead of throwing it away and causing harm.”
The Break-Free From Plastic (BFP) Initiative on Saturday also called on the government to place a ban on the indiscriminate usage of plastics and polythene and to also enforce laws towards the provision of waste bins in all vehicles and businesses as a critical step to save the environment.
Chief Executive of Break-Free From Plastic Initiative, Ibrahim M. S. Said, said the organisation decided to commemorate the world Clean Up Day 2020 in order to create awareness at the grassroots on the dangers of indiscriminate waste management especially after flooding cases occurred in Nigeria, resulting in loss of lives and properties.
He added that the activity is also aimed at supporting the Kaduna State Environment Protection Authority (KEPA) and other government agencies who are working on making the environment safe for all, to achieve environmental sustainability and climate change mitigation.
The Director, Monitoring and Compliance, Mal. Ismaila Hadi Usman, representing the General Manager, Kaduna Environmental Protection Authority (KEPA), appreciated the efforts of BFP towards observing the World Clean Up Day. He assured that the state government is always ready for partnerships towards protecting and improving the standards of our environment.
Mal. Jibrin Bello, the coordinator of Capegate, also expressed his happiness in working with BFP towards creating awareness at the grassroot level, especially with the flooding cases experienced recently.
Countries like Sudan and Niger suffered impacts of flooding and he pleaded with the initiative to always deploy the support of Capegate in mobilising grassroots for climate action and environmental sanitation.
A member of the community who participated in the clean-up exercise, Shamsuddeen Abdullahi, expressed appreciation to the organisers of the exercise and pledged to also keep sensitising people at the grassroots towards proper waste management, thereby giving in all efforts to break them free from plastics.
Eleven-year-old Precious, when asked about her inspiration behind the zeal she showcased at the clean-up exercise, replied: “I don’t believe I’m too young to be held accountable for my immediate environment. A safer and cleaner world is very much possible if we work together, both the old and young in ensuring it.”.
By Esenvosa Izah