• Breaking News

    Wednesday, June 6, 2018

    Beating Plastic Pollution

    Photo by: Mali Maeder, Germany

    As the World Environmental Day 2018 encroaches, the Earth is faced with challenges now more than ever; from the glaring effects of global warming to the disastrous consequences of climate change, which is being felt across the globe. Plastic pollution is one of the most significant environmental threats the planet is facing right now. About 50 billion plastic bags worldwide are used and disposed of indiscriminately. Reports have shown that the world has produced more plastic in the last decade than it has in the previous century. Most of the disposed plastic materials are indiscriminately disposed through burning or dumping in the seas, causing severe disruption in the environment and posing serious health challenges in the lives of people. It threatens the marine life, our food and water supply.

    Backyard and inside burning of plastics and other domestic waste is typical in many countries in the world, including Nigeria. People burn plastics for various reasons—either because it is easier than hauling it to the local disposal site or to avoid paying for regular waste collection service, or – as there exists no municipal waste service – because it is the only way that many people both in the rural and urban areas have to get rid of their waste. Indoor plastic burning is often practiced in areas with a low economic level and where citizens use firewood and stoves for cooking. Stoves are fired with plastics: expensive wood is saved, and the garbage is reduced. Some of the health implications of burning plastics include: increase in the risk of heart disease, aggravating respiratory ailments such as asthma, and causing rashes, nausea, or headaches, damages in the nervous system, kidney or liver, in the reproductive and development system. The environmental implications of burning plastics include the release of toxins, which over time accumulate in food crops, animals, and fish that people eat.

    Indiscriminate dumping in our seas is also a severe cause for concern. Millions of plastics end up in the oceans; harming the marine life, blocking nature's waterways and costing the world billions through clean up actions. Its effects are felt through endangering of marine life, polluting the water, and threatening biodiversity.

    The dangers of plastic pollution cannot be overemphasized. However, it can be mitigated. In Nigeria, enlightenment is critical. The public needs to be aware of the dangers of plastic pollution. Social campaigns against the use of plastics and promoting recycling should be embarked upon by the government, Non-Governmental Organizations and concerned individuals using a bottom to top approach by heavily engaging with the grassroots.
    Another innovative and engaging method in stopping plastic pollution is recycling. It should be encouraged and promoted across the world. People would gladly participate in schemes that would convert their trash to treasure, thereby creating economic opportunities as well as saving the environment.

    Governments should also drive this change through legislation, and vigorous enforcement. It's about ensuring manufacturers have the necessary incentives in putting forth sustainable alternatives to plastics.

    By Salim Yunusa 

    1 comment:

    1. This is an interesting article. Awareness is key. Keep up with the good work.


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