For a Safer Earth, Healthier Climate

CSOs Call on FG to Adopt Zero Waste Plan in Line with UN Plastic Treaty

By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja.

Civil Society Organisations on the platform of the Global Alliance for Incinerators Alternative (GAIA) Network and Break-Free from Plastics (BFFP) have called on the Nigerian government through various ministries, departments, and agencies to adopt and implement a comprehensive Zero Waste Plan that addresses all forms of waste at source generation and across all value chains.

The Global Plastic Treaty is an instrument that presents the opportunity to reduce plastic production, eradicate toxic substances in plastics, exclude false solutions like incineration, and scale up zero waste solutions such as reuse among others.

Reducing plastic usage in Nigeria will guarantee the true commitment from the Nigerian government to the implementation of its Nationally Determined Contribution NDC) and reduce extractive activities that deliberately create environmental concerns, adding that breaking free from plastics will mark out the country for sustainable environmental advancement and promote the health of citizens.

In a statement jointly read by some of the partners including, Executive Director, Community Development Advocacy Foundation (CODAF) Benin E. Richard, Founder, Centre for Earth Works (CFW) Benson Dotun-Fasanya, Programme Coordinator, Green Knowledge Foundation Bawo Ofere and Program Manager, Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Maimoni Ubrei-Joe

Executive Director, of Community Development Advocacy Foundation (CODAF) Benin E. Richard said they aligned with the ambitious position of the BFFP Movement/GAIA Network to reduce the trade, production, and use of plastics. Limiting the presence of toxic chemicals in plastics, and prohibiting dangerous practices such as open burning, incineration, and other waste-to-energy processes.

Mr. Richard urged the Nigerian Government to adopt and implement a comprehensive Zero Waste Plan that addresses all forms of waste at the source of generation and across all value chains.

He also called on them to uphold the UN human rights resolution to a safe, clean, and healthy environment that is toxic-free; Make efforts to ban all single-use plastics / establish mechanisms for plastic withdrawal, guarantee the inclusion of just transition and accessibility of waste pickers and frontline communities into waste management policies and the Global Treaty Process.

In his position, Founder, of Centre for Earth Works (CFW) Benson Dotun-Fasanya noted that plastics are a significant challenge in Nigeria as unlike other materials it never really goes away.

Beyond the problems of non-decomposition, and posing as a threat to the planet and biodiversity, plastics pose health challenges to humans, especially to women. He said plastics are also interconnected to the promotion of poverty in Nigeria.

In his words “The Nigeria plastic tsunami has dangerous impacts on the health of Nigerians, especially women who suffer the most effects.

“Women are more affected by plastics than men, this is because biologically, their bodies react in different ways to toxins, and the hygiene products that women use are often contaminated, for instance, tampons which may comprise up to six percent plastic and sanitary pads consist of up to 90 percent petroleum-based plastic.

Adding his view, the Programme Coordinator, of the Green Knowledge Foundation Bawo Ofere stated that besides health, and poverty, plastic also contributed to climate degradation as transport, energy, and energy are often blamed for climate change.

Stating that plastic production is one of the largest and fastest-growing contributors to climate emissions, especially when improperly disposed of. He quoted the Center for International Environmental Laws which estimates that at the current and projected level of growth, the production of plastics alone could generate 53.5b metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

“In addition, the incineration of waste plastic pushes this total to nearly 56 billion metric tonnes.

In other words, plastic alone could consume between 10/13 percent of the Earth’s remaining carbon budget while staying below 1.5 degrees” he said  

“Incineration is not a better solution, because burning plastic waste leads to black carbon which has a global warming potential almost 5,000 times greater than carbon dioxide (CO2)”.

Program Manager, Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Ubrei-Joe Maimoni called on the Nigerian government to adopt the 7rs of environmental sustainability which include Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Repurpose, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot.

The partners maintained that addressing the plastics production reduction at source remains a fundamental part of the efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, build resilience and solutions to climate change while ensuring justice and equity for all

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