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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Govt urged to phase out single-use plastic now, not in 2028

There is an urgent need for the immediate phase-out of single-use plastic such as against the proposed 2028 deadline proposed in the National Policy on Plastic Waste Management.

SRADev Meeting
Physical participants at the Roundtable

This submission formed part of the recommendations made in Lagos on January 29, 2021 at a Civil Society Roundtable Consultation on Plastic Waste Policy held at the instance of the Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development (SRADeV Nigeria).

Organised by SRADeV with financial support of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), the daylong workshop was aimed at getting input of civil societies, such as International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) and GAIA Nigeria members, on the experts gap analysis of the National Policy on Plastic Waste Management in conjunction with Basel Convention Amendment as part of the deliverables of the mini-project titled: “Targeted Advocacy on the National Policy on Plastics Waste Management and the Transposition of the Basel Convention Amendment in Nigeria”.

Besides the presentation of papers, participants reviewed and discussed two expert reports prepared by Prof. P. C. Oniawa of the Basel Convention Regional Coordination Centre (BCCRC-Africa) and Prof Babajide Alo of the University of Lagos.

Apart from Nigeria urgently domesticating the Basel Convention Amendment which came into effect in January 1, 2021, participants resolved that the National Environmental Regulation of NESREA for the plastic sector should be reviewed in line with Basel Convention Amendment gaps analysis identified.

They also underlined the need for specialised technical trainings for key enforcement officers to be conducted for officials of Nigeria Customs, National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Federal Ministry of Environment and some other stakeholders on aspects of the enforcement and permitting procedure relating to plastic waste trade as well as Basel Convention Amendment domestication.

Government was urged to immediately establish the concentrations of contaminants in the plastic wastes and accredit specialised institutions and laboratory training for analysis of plastics for contaminants.

Similarly, said the forum, the permitting system of the Federal Ministry of Environment should be overhauled to establish preparedness for the Prior Informed Control (PIC) system for plastic waste as required by the Basel Convention Amendment.

It was further recommended that:

  • There is need for a national inventory on plastic waste-based fuel in the country and its compliance with best practice.
  • There is need for a national inventory on plastic waste-based fuel in the country and its compliance with best practice.
  • The Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Environment should immediately declare its stand to the international community on the question of the inclusion of cured resins and fluorinated polymers in Annex IX of the Basel Convention.
  • There is need for studies to assess institutional capacity of the entire plastic waste management sector and make available information on plastic additives.
  • There is need for a national inventory on the availability of replaceable alternatives to single-use plastic.
  • Federal Government should put in place be the right-to-know mechanism on the chemical constituents (in consultation with SON, FCCPC, MAN, NCS) of plastic waste nationally and internationally traded in the country.
  • Awareness creation, capacity building particularly for the government agencies, civil societies, media as well as the international traders (importers and exporters) and other relevant key stakeholders in the plastic waste value chain to understand the issues of plastic waste.

The group reached some internal resolutions to advance the process for government engagement towards the transposition of the Basel Convention Amendment in Nigeria as follows:

  • Media sensitisation through media conference and social media engagements on the core principles and recommendations of the Basel Convention in the policy.
  • A written justification to the Federal Ministry of Environment as well as other relevant government parastatals to advocate the inclusion of the plastic waste policy amendment.
  • The formation of a GAIA-IPEN coalition on corporate accountability of plastic waste to engage with major industry stakeholders through the Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance (FBRA) and others in the plastic recycling sector.

During extensive deliberations, the workshop noted the following observations:

  • The core principles and recommendations of the Basel Convention plastic waste amendments are missing in the National Policy.
  • The Nigeria National Policy has not addressed the issues of trade in plastic waste even though the new Basel Convention plastic waste trade rules will become effective on 1 January 2021.
  • The Policy does not recognise that significant amount of imports and exports of plastic waste do occur in Nigeria.
  • The National Policy on Plastic Waste Management does not indicate the role of key government parastatals in the management of plastic waste, especially the control of trans-boundary movement of plastics and its waste, for example the Nigerian Customs.
  • Standardisation is a critical requirement for effective implementation of the plastic waste amendments and this would require the involvment of Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).
  • An appropriate categorisation of plastic into being hazardous or not in the national policy document would require the establishment of contamination limits by NAFDAC.

The forum brought together about 20 participants drawn from civil society, academia and the media to make input into the National Policy on Plastic Waste Management as well as to develop a national action plan towards tackling the menace of plastics in Nigeria.

It held both virtually and physically, and the goodwill message was delivered by Sirine Rached of GAIA USA.

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