Minister of State for Environment and Ecology, Dr Izag Salako has said that over 1.5 million tonnes of plastic waste generated annually in Nigeria were posing serious threat to food safety and quality.
The minister made the disclosure at the Plastic Waste Sustainability Summit organized by Anambra State Waste Recyclers Association (ASWRA), in conjunction with the Anambra State Ministry of Environment in Awka.
He said the federal government was planning on establishing more recycling hubs to help in converting waste to wealth.
He commended the Anambra State Government for the vision of a clean, green and sustainable initiative, calling on all stakeholders to come together to put a stop to plastic menace in the country.
Secretary to State Government, Professor Solo Chukwulobelu assured government’s readiness to support efforts geared towards conversion of waste to wealth, waste to biogas, waste to compost manure, waste to energy and waste to other useful product.
Head of Service, Barrister Theodora Igwegbe, said that it was important to provide an enabling environment for investments in the recycling business.
“According to the United Nations, it takes over four hundred years for plastics to decompose, with more than eight million tonnes of plastics said to end up in the oceans every year,” she said.
Earlier, Commissioner for Environment, Dr Felix Odimegwu, said recycling hubs and banks are being set up across Anambra State in line with Governor Chukwuma Soludo’s agenda on waste to wealth.
He said plastic wastes could be taken to the hubs and exchanged for cash or other valuable items.
For the ASWRA convener, Barrister Philip Obuesi, it is necessary for all residents to subscribe to the clean, green and sustainable Anambra by changing their attitudes towards the environment.
Delivering a lecture on “overcoming plastic pollution through community empowerment, capacity building and Stakeholders participation: A focus on the communities in Anambra State”, keynote speaker, Dr David Onuoha called for stricter measures to control plastic pollution and its growing damage to the environment .
He listed some of the causes of plastic pollution to include inadequate waste management, consumer behavior, lack of awareness, plastic production, ineffective regulations, packaging practices, natural events and population growth, just as he enumerated reuse, recycle, reduce, remove, replace and management and value chain initiative as some of the sustainability routes.
The sustainability summit featured presentation of awards, prizes to companies and communities that participated in the just concluded “All Community Plastic Challenge.”