NIGERIA – Nigeria’s plastic consumption has been projected to reach 40 million tonnes by 2030, as the country is one of the largest consumers of plastics in Africa, according to the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG).

The group revealed this at a pre-29th Nigerian Economic Summit (Nes29) webinar with the theme “Waste-to-Wealth: The plastics value chain.”

The Chairman, Technical Sub-Committee of the #NES29, Mrs Ozofu Ogiemudia, said the country imported 20 million tonnes of primary plastics and products between 1996 and 2017.

She noted that the high volume of plastic use points to the importance of considering the effects it might have on people and the environment.

In his keynote, the Minister of State for Environment, Dr. Iziaq Kunle Salako, said the accumulation of plastic objects, including multilayered packaging, electronics, healthcare, clinical, and pharmaceutical sectors dumped after use, has a severe impact on the environment, biodiversity and human health.

Represented by the Director-General, National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Prof Aliyu Jauro, he noted that for sustainable development and management of waste to wealth, innovative solutions need to be explored that would help recycle and transform plastics for good use.

He said improperly disposed plastics clog drainages, leading to floods, contaminating water bodies, and causing threats to wildlife, indicating the importance of recycling.

In another development, environmental development expert, and former Commissioner for Environment, Ogun State, Mr. Ola Oresanya has said that Nigeria loses N10 billion (US$12.98m) annually from unorganized and unregulated plastic recovery management systems in the country.

Oresanya said this at the just concluded fourth edition of Lagos Waste Forum, a high-level citizens forum on waste reduction and management held at NECA House, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos. The event was put together by SWEEP Foundation.

The event tagged: ‘Investing in Plastics Recovery Towards a Circular Economy,’ brought together industry players, government representatives, civil society groups, multinationals, International Labor Organisation (ILO), among others.

The event also witnessed the award of sustainability to some organizations including Trashcon, Recycle Edge, Association of Carton and Waste Recycling Dealers of Nigeria, Association of Scraps and Waste Pickers of Lagos (ASWOL), and others.

Oresanya lamented that Nigerians were yet to unlock the economic potential in plastic waste recycling.

According to him, Nigeria generates 12 million tonnes of plastics every year and one ton of plastics mobbed costs N250 to N300,000 (US$0.32 to US$389.49) whereas, in the international market, it has been sold at N1.2 million to N1.5 million (US$1557.95 to US$1947.43), stressed there is so much money to be made and employment to be generated if Nigeria can explore new economic model that will unlock its potentials.

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