An environmentalist, Mr Gafar Odubote, has called on the Federal Government to set an effective date for the ban of single-use plastic in the country.
Odubote made this call in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Monday.
NAN reports that the House of Representatives on May 21, passed the “Plastic Bag Prohibition bill” to address issues of waste management and environmental pollution in the country.
The bill, which is yet to be debated in the Senate has provisions for fine not exceeding N500, 000 or three-year imprisonment for individuals and N5million for corporate organisations.
The environmentalist wanted the ban of single-use plastic to go beyond lip service and called on the government to expedite action in ensuing the ban.
“My agitation is that our government should give us a target date to take action against single-use plastics and other environmental issues.
“Just like we have the Economy Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP); I propose that we should have Wastes Management Adaptation Plan (WMAP) or Wastes Minimisation and Recycling Plan (WMRP).
“From the plan, the government should state when we should legislate a total ban on plastics and what amenities we should put in place.
“We can ban sachet water and have tap water outlets in places not far too from each other so people can refill their bottles anytime and anywhere.
“In Rwanda, from the point of entering their airport, they ensure all forms of plastics are removed from one’s luggage. Nylons used to wrap luggage are also disallowed.
“For the Rwandan Government, they are able to successfully implement a ban on Single-use plastic by imploring manufacturers to recycle their nylon bags,” he said.
Odubote called for a concrete plan to be set in motion while putting into effect the ban of Single-use plastic in the country.
“Instead of haphazard approach to wastes management- let’s have a plan that should target like a five year plan for manufacturers to revise their business models to support circular economy.
“It should give a period for manufacturers to change their bottling plant from plastics to eco-friendly ones. Our stand on wastes should be able to carry all stakeholders on board.
“The plan should state how recycling would be enhanced, how wastes collection will be improved; how wastes sorting can be achieved from households.
“The plan should also contain directives for financial institutions to support companies that want to operate in the waste management value chain.
“The plan should specify on the immediate, short, medium and long time what need to be done and what each stakeholder needs to do.’’
According to him, in Singapore, they imposed extra charges on bags from grocery stores and, in Indonesia they create organic biodegradable bags out of cassava roots, thanks to innovation hubs.
“The plan should give direction on supporting innovation hubs that will bring sustainable replacements to some products constituting wastes,” Odubote said.