The Association of Table Water Producers of Nigeria (ATWAP) has advised the federal government against banning the production of sachet water, popularly called pure water.
Pure water has become the main source of drinking water in most Nigerian homes because of the non-availability of potable drinking water for the majority of the population.
Calls for the ban of the production of the product have being heightened of recent.
Advocates of the ban say it is to check the indiscriminate disposal of polythene bags by consumers of pure water.
ATWAP president, Mr. Ina Ubi, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) shortly after the group visited the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), said the ban would have adverse consequences on the economy, as the sub-sector was contributing immensely to economic growth with about 700,000 people employed in over 31,000 sachet water processing factories nationwide.
He said that closing down sachet water business in Nigeria would put a lot of people out of job and add to the problems of unemployment in the country.
Ubi further stated that said that rather than considering such, the government should evolve better ways of solid waste management in the country.
He said, “Sachet water is a ‘bottom of the pyramid’ industry in Nigeria, it is the most dynamic and successful industry in the country. We are soliciting for the establishment of recycling plants, incinerators and mechanised dump sites in the designated areas in the country for the purpose of managing waste.”
He further said the body would partner with the government on the issue of public enlightenment on the proper disposal of solid waste, just as he said recycling waste from sachet water wraps could create jobs for those, who would work in the recycling plants.
Ubi suggested that sachet water producers in the country should be given grants from the Ecological Fund to help them set up recycling plants.
Earlier in her address, the head of environmental monitoring and research department, AEPB, Mrs. Jokolo Akoni, said that the board was open to suggestions and partnership from individuals and groups in the management of solid waste in the FCT.
Akoni, said the government would not implement any policy that could put the economy in jeopardy and assured that the management of the board would study the position of the association on waste management in the city and make recommendations to the appropriate authorities.
The director solicited the support of the group in educating its members on the need to comply with waste management regulations in the city.