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Nigeria to outlaw use of plastic bags

The Nigerian House of Representatives has adopted a report on a bill for an act to, among other things, prohibit the use, manufacture and importation of plastic bags for commercial and household packaging.

Plastic bags pollution
Plastic bags pollution

The report was adopted on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at the Committee of Whole presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Rep. Yussuf Lassun (APC-Osun). 

The bill seeks to address the harmful effects of plastic bags on the oceans, rivers, lakes, forests, wildlife as well as human beings when passed into law.

The bill which has been passed by the Senate was presented to the house by Rep. Mohammed Monguno (APC-Borno)

The report recommended that retailers of goods shall offer paper bags to customers at the point of sale in place of plastic bags or be guilty of an offence when the bill is passed into law.

It stated that a person who manufactures plastic bags for the purpose of selling would be guilty of an offence.

The report also stated that a person who imports plastic bags for sale or carryout bag is equally guilty of an offence.  

“Any body person found guilty shall be liable upon conviction to a fine of not exceeding N500,000 or a jail term not exceeding three years or both,” it recommended.

The report says that any organisation found guilty shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not more than N5 million.

Presenting the report, Monguno said that the bill seeks to relieve pressure on landfills and waste management.

He said that the use of plastic bags is rampant and that the bags are not biodegradable.

Monguno said that the bags stay in the environment for hundreds of years and affect arable land, water bodies and wildlife.

Lassun, who presided over the meeting, observed that the bill should create room for recycling of plastic bags.

He said that the bill, as it stands, when passed would mean that plastic bags would not be seen again in the country.

The bill would now be listed for third reading on a later date after which it would be sent to the President for assent.

By EricJames Ochigbo

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