The minister of Environment, Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar has disclosed that Nigeria, with a population of over 200 million people, produces 1.5 tons of plastic waste annually but only 10 per cent is recycled.
Abubakar stated this when he received report of a study by federal government in collaboration with government of Japan and United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in Abuja.
The study, which intends to end plastic waste pollution proposes (innovative) alternative packaging and recycling of wastes to end the menace.
The research project titled, “Nigeria’s Study on Available Technologies that Meet the Need in Africa to Reduce Plastic Leakages to the Environmental” was executed by UNIDO and funded by Japan.
Abubakar said the new study was part of government’s numerous efforts to address challenges of plastic waste in the country in a holistic and sustainable manner by delivering alternatives to drive investment and sustainable development.
He said, “Plastic pollution has become one of the gravest environmental problems confronting the global community with impact transcending national, regional and international boundaries.
“Nigeria, with a population of about 200 million people generates about 1.5million tons of plastic waste every year of which less than 10 per cent is recycled. The problem of plastic pollution in the country is exacerbated by inadequate waste management infrastructure, poor behavioural attitude, unskilled waste collection workforce, indiscriminate dumping and burning of plastics wastes, poor awareness, inadequate funding etc.
“It is against this background that we welcome this particular study on available sustainable alternative materials to plastics.”
The minister recalled that the Project Steering Committee which comprised various MDAs, States Environmental Agencies, Developmental partners, the Academia and NGOs was inaugurated in February 2020.
Also speaking, Japan Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Matsunaga Kazuyoshi reiterated the country’s commitment to assisting and supporting Nigeria and other African countries in tackling the issue of plastic waste pollution and management.
He said plastic waste pollution is a global problem and it is comforting to see the Nigerian government and other stakeholders taking actions to end the menace.