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Nigeria Needs To Tackle Plastic Pollution



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PLASTIC pollution has become a real monstrosity in Nigeria. The urban centres are littered with single-use plastics and other plastic products; the rural areas are also burdened with plastic waste. This constitutes an eyesore on the landscape, degrades the environment, and clogs the drainage.

It is concerning. The local, state, and federal governments should urgently deploy comprehensive and actionable policies to reduce indiscriminate plastic disposal in the country.

Reminding Nigeria of the impact of plastic pollution afresh, the United States Agency for International Development said recently that Africa’s most populous country is the ninth-highest contributor to plastic pollution globally. The country contributes 2.5 million tonnes of plastic waste annually while 88 per cent is not recycled. This is colossal.

According to the Mismanaged Waste Index 2024 by the World Population Review, Nigeria’s plastic waste status is “very high.” The country is credited with 4.5 per cent of the global plastic consumption rate. It imports 960,000 tonnes of plastics, produces 935,800 tonnes, and releases 27,685 tonnes of plastic waste into its waterways. It shares the damaging profile with India (7.4 million tonnes), Thailand (3.4MT), Iran (1.3MT), Kazakhstan (1.2MT), United Arab Emirates (1.1MT), and South Africa (1.0MT).

USAID’s Mission Director to Nigeria, Melissa Jones, lamented that the excess plastic waste threatens the ecosystem, marine life, and public health. She advised that recycling would help reduce demand for new raw materials for plastic production, limit the energy-intensive process of producing plastics by 90 per cent, and reduce greenhouse emissions by 25 per cent.

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