By Godwin Oritse
A group, Women in Logistics and Transport (WILAT) has raised alarm over the increasing rate of plastic pollution in the oceans, calling for proper disposal and recycling of plastic waste to protect the marine environment.
WILAT Board of Trustees member and Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Princess Vicky Haastrup, who made the call during a sensitization campaign organised to commemorate the WILAT Founder’s Day Anniversary in Lagos, decried the harmful effect of plastic wastes on human health and aquatic lives, called on the governments at all levels to enact laws banning the single use of plastics in Nigeria to reduce waste.
While noting that several countries have enacted laws to that effect, Haastrup said Nigeria should not be an exception to eliminating the harmful effects of single-use plastics with affordable alternatives.
She called on manufacturing industries to begin to look at alternative ways of producing or packaging items.
She stated: “Plastic pollution constitutes a lot of danger to human and aquatic lives. We see heaps of plastics almost all over the place that it seems almost impossible for any government to create a clean environment without handling the issue of plastic waste.
“Just recently, we heard that the Canadian government has developed plans to ban single-use plastics as early as 2021. That is the awareness all over the world. Nigeria should not be an exception. We as women in WILAT are using this opportunity to sensitize the society about the use of plastic.
“It is a serious cause of pollution in our marine environment. It is affecting fishes and when we eat them, it constitutes health hazards to all of us. “We are using this opportunity to call on the government to look into it as a way of banning some of these plastic products. Industries should begin to look at alternatives ways of packaging water and soft drinks because it is a major cause of health hazard to the marine environment and to all of us and the economy.
“Nigeria should pass it into law. I think is high time we all rise up to this occasion. There should be a law that will regulate the use of plastic. It a major cause of pollution in the environment,” Princess Haastrup said.
Also speaking at the event, the Founder and Global Convener of WILAT, Hajia Aisha Ali-Ibrahim, who doubles as the Port Manager of the Lagos Port Complex, Apapa, said, “We need to sensitize the public on the need for proper recycling so that we can achieve a blue environment. Proper disposal of plastic is actually an area we should focus on if we want development in logistics. We can’t throw things everywhere. We have to recycle and make the environment better and we as women are concerned about this. That is why we decided to take it up.”
Former Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mrs Ufon Usoro, who also spoke at the event, called for the adoption of innovative ideas towards reducing plastic wastes in the country.
“We know that the evolution of plastics generated a lot of businesses but when we realise now the dangers that are posed by plastics, I believe we can invest on how to use that plastic in a sustainable way. We have heard of other countries where they use waste plastics as pellets for road repairs and the study shows it is very durable. We operate in an ecosystem and it has to be safeguarded in order to make it possible for our various businesses to grow,” she said.
The sensitization campaign which begins with a walk from Ikoyi to Lekki through the link bridge was attended by the President, Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) Nigeria, Ibrahim Jubril; immediate past President, Nigerian Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Iyalode Alaba Lawson and other several transport and logistics professionals.
WILAT, which is an arm of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), was set up as the global body of women professionals in the transport and logistics industry. The group has been steadfast in promoting the status of women in the industry and bringing together those who support talent and career development of women.