Nigeria Inaugurates Plastics Value Chains Steering Committee Project
By Zeniat Abubakar, Abuja
The Nigerian government has inaugurated the Project Steering Committee for promoting sustainable plastics value chains through circular economy practices.
The project will also help to contribute for an inclusive and sustainable industrial development of Nigeria by ensuring sustainable plastic management through supply economy practices, and resource efficiency.
Minister of Environment, Mr Muhammed Abdullahi, who inaugurated the committee in Abuja, the nation’s capital said that the project was taking off at a time the attention of the global community is focused on negotiating the establishment of a legally binding instrument for the environmentally sound management of plastic throughout their entire lifecycle.
“As you are all aware, misuse of plastic and poor management of its wastes pose danger to human health and the environment, tonnes of improperly disposed plastic wastes litter our streets, clog up drainages in rural and urban areas leading to flooding incidents as experienced in certain parts of the country recently, contaminate the soil affecting farmlands and livestock, littering the oceans thereby threatening biodiversity and Increase greenhouse gas emissions when burnt indiscriminately,” he explained.
He noted that the Ministry of Environment in collaboration with relevant stakeholders took steps to address the plastic issue holistically by adopting circular economy model in response to these challenges.
The Minister says, “We have developed the national policies on solid waste and plastic waste management to promote environmental protection, resource and energy efficiency, circular economy practices and enhance the conservation of natural resources through sustainable production and consumption and currently implementing community based waste management projects with emphasis on recycling.”
According to him, “the Government of Japan funded a study on available sustainable alternative materials for plastic, innovative packaging and recycling technologies that meet market needs in Africa to reduce plastic leakages to the environment, in Nigeria. The study which was conducted in 2021, implemented by UNIDO in collaboration with the Ministry revealed the following, Low level of recycling activities in the country, Only 45% of waste are collected, 80% of plastic waste goes to dump site while only 10% is recycled. Alternative materials to plastics are yet to be introduced in the market and recognition of bio-plastics is low, amongst others.”
He noted that the multi stakeholder Project Steering Committee was to provide technical assistance and guidance to the project towards achieving the aims and objectives, and also help to kick start the implementation of the project.
The Country Representative and Regional Director for West Africa, UNIDO, Mr Jean Bakole, said that plastic litter was a major global environmental problem in Nigeria.
Mr. Bakole said that the plastic production was drastically increased by more than twenty-folds between 1964 and 2015, with an annual output of 322 million metric tonnes.
He further said that the figure was expected to double by 2035 and quadruple by 2050, if no global action was taken.
“Despite the increase in plastic waste generation, Nigeria has continued to display a leadership position in Africa by developing various initiatives and partnerships at combating plastics and solid wastes pollution,” he explained.
Sustainable Industrial Development
Bakole, however, reaffirm UNIDO’s commitment to work with the Nigerian government through the Ministry and other stakeholders, towards achieving an inclusive and sustainable industrial development without compromising the quality of the environment.
The Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Matsunaga Kazuyoshi, said that the Steering Committee is to oversee the Plastic Circular economy project through monitoring the project’s implementation progress, validate its overall direction and the work plan, and assist in mobilising resources required for project implementation where necessary.
He also stressed that the Plastic Circular economy project, aims to contribute to Nigeria’s inclusive and sustainable industrial development and reduce leakage of plastics to the environment through promotion of Plastic Circular economy principles and practices to be integrated into effective implementation of plastic management and strengthening plastic value chains.
“On August 27 and 28 2022, Japan organised the 8th International Conference on African Development, TICADS in Tunis, Tunisia, All African leaders and UN representatives were invited.
“TICADS covered a wide-range of fields such as the economy, social development, poor and stability post covid-19, and also explored ways in which the mounting problems of waste management in African countries can be addressed through Japan’s Green Growth Initiative with Africa, TICADA has further raised the engagement of the Japanese government and private sectors in Nigeria,” he stated.
He said Japan would continue to work with Nigeria through its technology, knowledge and also to contribute to its field of plastic waste management.
“This project is multifaceted and will contribute to economic growth by contributing to solving the problem of unemployment in the coastal areas, which is considered to be the root cause of the piracy problem, and promoting fisheries in the coastal areas by preserving the marine environment in the Gulf of Guinea. Through this project, Japan hopes to contribute to the enhancement of the value of the Gulf of Guinea, the development of the blue economy, and ultimately the prosperity of Nigeria,” he added.
The Director, Abuja Environmental Protection Board, AEPB, Mr Osilama Braimah, said that the plastic wastes generation was a major environmental problem that needed to be addressed effectively.
Mr Braimah said that the project was expected to be integrated into effective implementation of plastic wastes management in the FCT which would strengthen plastic value chain.
He said that the effort would as well increase the recycling capacity, thereby, reducing the amount of plastic leaking in the environment.
The Managing Director Lagos State Waste Management Authority, LAWMA, Mr Ibrahim Odumboni, said that the Lagos state government was working assiduously to promote circular economy.
“when we look at the waste component generated about 40 to 45% of it are organic. Why about 50 to 55% of it which are inorganic, which are majorly recyclable plastics and all the plastic component of us about 15% in Lagos states the challenges we’re having it’s all about improving the collection system and that’s been the major challenges and we are working on it,” he said.
While reiterating the Lagos state government commitment in supporting the project, he said the government has initiated a lot of programmes to ensure that it sustain the issues of plastic waste menace.
“Three years ago, governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu launched what we call Lagos recycling initiative as a part as a part of mitigating the many millions of plastics in our environment, that’s been a major challenges because we know plastic blocked our drainages and constitute literally all around our environment,” he added.
The project funded by the Government of Japan, with the main counterpart, the Federal Ministry of Environment executing partners Abuja environment protection Board and Lagos state environmental protection agency and private sector will run for three years and focuses on two states, the FCT and Lagos state.
This is the first project in which UNIDO has applied the concept of Plastic.