Home » Nigerian NGO Urges Government to Ban Plastic Bags for Environmental Protection

Nigerian NGO Urges Government to Ban Plastic Bags for Environmental Protection

HEDA says plastic bags are a nuisance and a threat to humans and animals

by Motoni Olodun

According to a non-governmental organization that advocates for sustainable development, plastic bags are a major source of environmental pollution in Nigeria. The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) has called on the federal government to ban styrofoam and polythene bags, especially at social gatherings, as they threaten the health and well-being of humans and animals.

HEDA’s executive secretary, Sulaimon Arigbabu, appealed at a stakeholders’ meeting on the Building Community Response to Climate Change, held at Ajibode community in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State. He said that plastic bags are a nuisance in the environment and contribute to climate change by releasing greenhouse gases when burned or decomposed.

“We are advocating that using styrofoam to produce plates that people just eat and discard should be banned in Nigeria. We should be moving towards even banning the use of plastic bags that we call nylon,” Arigbabu said.

He added that plastic bags are often indiscriminately discarded in the streets, drains, and farmlands, where they clog the waterways, cause flooding, and harm wildlife. He cited the example of sea turtles that mistake floating plastic bags for jellyfish and ingest them, leading to their death.

Arigbabu also urged the government to improve the waste management system and ban the production and sale of anything that has not meaningfully contributed to society. He suggested alternative materials such as paper, cloth, or biodegradable bags should be used instead of plastic.

He further called on religious houses, different associations, and traders’ associations to enlighten their members on reducing polythene bags and adopting eco-friendly practices.

Some of the participants at the meeting, Jadesola Adetunji and Adesegun Adeosun told The PUNCH that the program positively impacted their lives and would go back to their respective communities and educate them on the proper disposal of plastic bags.

HEDA’s initiative is part of a global movement to curb plastic pollution and protect the environment. According to a report by UN Environment, more than 60 countries have introduced bans or levies on single-use plastic items such as bags, cups, and straws. In Africa, countries such as Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania have enforced strict laws against plastic bags, while others such as Ghana, South Africa, and Ethiopia have imposed taxes or fees on them.

The Nigerian government has also shown some commitment to addressing the issue of plastic waste. In 2020, it launched a national plastic waste recycling program to create jobs, empower women and youth, and promote environmental sustainability. The program involves establishing recycling plants nationwide, where waste collectors can exchange plastic waste for cash or household items.

However, more must be done to raise awareness and change behavior among Nigerians regarding plastic consumption and disposal. HEDA hopes that its advocacy will inspire more government and public action to protect the environment and ensure a greener future for Nigeria.

Source: Punch

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