An Environmental expert, Abimbola Solanke, has called on the three tiers of government to put in place sustainable solid waste management by investing in sustainable disposal infrastructure and improving waste collection system.
Solanke, who is also an Administrative Manager in a multinational Information Technology (IT) company, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Thursday.
He advised that the government should also encourage recycling in manufacturing.
The expert suggested that the Lagos State Government could invest in massive recycling infrastructure, thereby becoming the recycling hub for West Africa.
He said that according to the World Bank, plastics wastes are being used to solve problems around the world, such as fillers for cement blocks, ropes, mats and baskets.
“On a larger scale, manufacturers are making use of recycled plastics and textiles to make clothing and furniture.
“Plastic pollution is a global environmental problem and it has become the centre of policy debates with respect to environmental sustainability and preservation of marine life.
“In Lagos, there are few data available as regards the volume of plastic waste generated but according to the Commissioner for Environment, Lagos is responsible for dumping 450,000 tonnes of plastics into the ocean bodies, which is half the total of what Nigeria as a whole contributes.
“Eighty per cent of the plastics in the oceans comes from land-based sources and this happens either by deliberate dumping into the oceans or through runways and drains,” Solanke said.
According to him, plastic pollution goes beyond bottles and nylon bags.
“Plastics are generally categorised into polyamides such as fibres, toothbrush bristles, polycarbonates like compact discs, eyeglasses, polyesters such as textiles, polyethene which are detergent bottles, shower curtains, carbonated drink bottles polypropylene like drinking straws and car bumpers,’’ Solanke said.
He said the effects of plastic pollution were very devastating, endangering lives in the long run.
“It is said that by the year 2050 there will be as many plastics as fishes in the oceans.
“Plastics in the oceans hurt all marine life and recent research has shown that most marine animals eat plastics, directly or indirectly.
“Since humans love to eat fish and seafood, we are equally feasting on plastics.
“A national Geography research established that plastic affects marine animals at nearly all levels of the biological organisation but there is little evidence to show that plastics in humans can cause harm.
“In order for us to deal with this problem, individuals, government and businesses have roles to play,” Solanke said. (NAN)