June 5, 2023

Pollution: Lagos raises concern over rise in wastes generation


…as it generates annual 870,000 tonnes of plastic wastes 

…tasks residents, stakeholders on recycling

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has expressed concern over increasing wastes generation in the state with attendant threat posed to the environment, particularly, plastic wastes.

The governor, therefore, called on all residents, stakeholders and partners in environmental sustainability to join hands with the state government in the ongoing efforts to find sustainable solution to the menace of plastics in the state.

Sanwo-Olu, made the remark on Monday at the grand-finale of the Year 2023, World Environmental Day celebration, with the theme, “Solutions to plastic pollution,” held in Alausa, Ikeja.

Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Drainage and Water Resources, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Nurudeen Shodeinde, noted that event is commemorated annually every June 5, as designated by the United Nation since 1973 to raise awareness on environmental issues including pollution, human overpopulation, global warming, among others.

The governor said, “The theme for this year’s commemoration, “Solutions to plastic pollution,” aims at providing the opportunity to sensitize individuals, enterprises and communities on preserving and enhancing the environment as well as trigger an alarm on the increasing global threat posed by plastics to the environment, especially as it affects Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, 11, 12, 14 and 15.

“According to United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the appearance of plastics in the early 20th century has amassed a production of over 9.5 billion metric tonnes of which more than 8 billion metric tonnes have become wastes.

“The packaging sector is identified as the largest generator of single-use plastic waste in the world. Approximately 36 per cent of all plastics produced are used in packaging. This includes single-use plastic food and beverage containers, 85 per cent of which end up in landfills or as mismanaged waste in the environment.

“Globally, only 20 per cent of plastics produced are being recycled while the rest ends up in unmanaged dumpsites or thrown into the drains, rivers and into the Ocean.

“This poses a greater threat to humanity as it can alter natural activities such as loss of habitats and reduction in the ecosystems’ ability to adapt to climate change, thereby affecting livelihood, food production, societal well-being and biodiversity on land and in water.

“In Nigeria, the total plastic waste generated annually is reported to be about 2.5 million tonnes, which include the daily production of about 60 million sachet water bags and single-use shopping bags.

“This situation is likely to worsen as the population grows from 220 million people to a projected 401 million by the end of 2050 with a correspondent increase in the demand for plastics.

“Lagos State being a megacity with an estimated population of 22 million inhabitants generate about 870,000 tonnes of plastic wastes annually which constitute about 15 per cent of the total waste generated in the state.

“The state government through the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources and relevant agencies such as Lagos Waste Management Authority, LAWMA, has continued to demonstrate unwavering commitment towards mitigating the challenge of plastic waste management in the state.

“We have launched several initiatives ranging from policy initiation, environmental education and advocacy, buy-back programme, replication of the recycling banks in the government residential estates, schools, communities and markets after a successful implementation of a pilot project within the catchment areas of the State Secretariat Complex here in Alausa.

“Also, as part of the efforts to make the state cleaner particularly by ensuring reduction of plastic waste, we commenced the community recyclable management programme with the launching of the first one in Ifako-Ijaye local government area in March 2023.

“Though the task ahead in mitigating the generation of plastic wastes in the state may seem herculean, it is achievable only by our collective efforts and consistent application of global best practice in waste management.”