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WE MUST COLLABORATE TO FIND SUSTAINABLE SOLUTION TO PLASTIC POLLUTION – SANWO-OLU 

Joins 2023 World Environment Day Celebrations

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Monday called on all residents to take up the responsibility and collaborate with the Government to ensure a sustainable solution to the menace of plastics pollution to make the State safe, cleaner and healthy.

The Governor made the call at the Year 2023 World Environment Day celebrations with the theme: “Solutions to Plastic Pollution”, held at Adeyemi-Bero, Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, adding that if residents sustain the collaboration with the State, then the target of protecting the environment which is a common heritage would be achieved.

Sanwo-Olu, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Office of Drainage Services and Water Resources, Engr. Nurudeen Shodeinde, said the 2023 event which focused on environmental concerns such as Pollution, Human Overpopulation, Global Warming, Waste Management and protection of Wildlife is being celebrated across the Five Divisions of the State namely Ikeja, Badagry, Ikorodu, Lagos-Island and Epe simultaneously.

He said in Nigeria, the total plastic waste generated annually is reported to be about 2.5 million tonnes, which includes the daily production of about 60 million sachet, water bags and single-use shopping bags, noting that the situation is likely to worsen as the population grows from 220 million to projected 401 million by the end of 2050 thereby increasing the demand for plastics.

The Governor stressed that Lagos State, being a megacity with an approximated population of 22 million inhabitants, generates about 870,000 tonnes of plastic waste annually which constitutes about 15 per cent of the total waste generated in the State.

He recalled that the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), had noted that 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. 

Sanwo-Olu averred that the packaging sector was 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, stressing that this includes single-use food and beverage containers which 85 per cent of them ended up as mismanaged waste in the environment.

He said globally, only 20 per cent of plastics produced are being recycled while the rest are thrown into the drains and Oceans, adding that this poses a greater threat to humanity.

His words: “As a demonstration of commitment to its ministerial responsibility, the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources and some Agencies such as Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) have initiated the launching of several initiatives such as Policy initiation, Environmental Advocacy, Buy-back programme amongst others to mitigate the challenge of plastic waste management in the State”.

He explained that the Ministry also recently embarked on replication of the Recycling Banks in the Government Residential Estates, Schools, Communities and Markets after a successful implementation of a pilot scheme within the catchment areas of the State Secretariat Complex, Alausa. 

He stated that as part of the efforts to make the State cleaner, the Ministry commenced the Community recyclable management programme and the first one was launched in Ifako-Ijaye LGA in March 2023.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary Office of Environmental Services, Mr. Gaji Omobolaji, who was represented by the Director of Environmental Education, Mrs. Monsurat Banire said the steps governments and businesses are taking to tackle plastic pollution need to be scaled up through policies and Awareness to accelerate this action and transition to a circular economy.

According to him, “We advocate multiple use plastics, encourage and promote recycling through ‘Reduce, Reuse & Recycle’ and ‘Buy-back’ initiatives” adding that the time has come to adopt the slogan #BeatPlasticPollution#.

He stressed that it was time for everyone to pay serious attention to the dangers of plastic pollution and adopt proactive measures to reduce single-use plastic such as encouraging reusable plastics or biodegradable materials which are cost-effective, eco-friendly and devoid of environmental nuisance amongst others.

The event was attended by dignitaries including Permanent Secretaries of Public Service Office, Mrs. Sunkanmi Oyegbola; Lands, Bureau-Bode Agoro; Housing, Kamar Olowosago; Office of Civic Engagement, Engr Abiola Kosegbe; Office of Works, Arch Adebayo Odusanya and Parastatal Monitoring Office, Dr. Olugbemiga Aina,

Others are Cabinet Office, Mrs. Tolani Oshodi; Establishment and Training, Wale Musa; Office of Finance, Temitope Hundogan; Youth and Social Development, Mrs. Zeinab Oke-Osanyintolu amongst others.

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