A dumpsite used to illustrate the story

The federal government has urgedNigerians to take proactive measures that will end plastic pollution and protect the planet.

The Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jibril, gave the advice in a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday by his media aide, Esther Agbarakwe, to mark the 2018 World Earth Day.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 2018 Earth Day marked on April 22, has the theme “End Plastic Pollution.”

“Nigerians are urged to use the weekend to celebrate the planet and to take action to protect it by ending plastic pollution.

“Plastic pollution is poisoning our oceans and land, injuring marine life, and affecting our health,” he said.

According to him, government is exploring the possibility of banning plastic bags with availability of alternatives.

“We are encouraging household and community recycling of plastic bottles as a matter community action and of state legislation

“Unless we take these steps, the problem is not going away says Dr Cristiana Paşca Palmer, the Executive Secretary of The UN Convention On Biological Diversity in a message.

“In 1950, the world’s population of 2.5 billion produced 1.5 million tonnes of plastic; in 2016, a global population of more than seven billion people produced over 300 million tonnes of plastic,” the minister said.

According to him, plastic pollution is now an ever-present challenge.

“We can see plastics floating in our rivers, ocean, and lagoons, littering our landscapes and affecting our health, and the future of billions of children and youths.

“We have all contributed to this problem – mostly unknowingly – and we must work to reduce and ultimately to End Plastic Pollution,” says Valeria Merino, Vice-President of Global Earth Day at Earth Day Network.”

Mr Jibril said that the Federal Ministry of Environment in collaboration with critical stakeholders had developed a national strategy for the phase-out of non-biodegradable plastics.

According to him, it is presently developing a national policy on Plastic Waste Management.

He said government was also implementing a National Plastic Waste Recycling Programme to establish plastic waste recycling plants across the country in partnership with state governments.

“Eight plants have already been completed and handed over to the states of location while 18 others are at various stages of completion.

“Federal Government is also collaborating with states to establish plastic waste recycling plants under the community-based waste management programme of the ministry.

“Two plants have been completed in Ilorin and in Lokoja, while work on another is ongoing in Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.

“The other locations, include Bola Jari in Gombe State and Leda Jari in Kano State,” the minister said.