BY CHIKA OKEKE, Abuja
The Government of Japan in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) has invested $2 million to bolster Nigeria’s Circular Economy project.
A circular economy is a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products such as plastics without leakage into the natural environment.
The three-year project, which commenced in 2022 and expected to end in 2025, would be integrated into the implementation plan of plastic value chain in Nigeria.
National Programme Coordinator of UNIDO, Mr Oluyomi Banjo stated this on Thursday in Abuja at the Awareness Raising Public Seminar on Plastic Circular Economy organised by the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) in collaboration with UNIDO.
The theme of the programme is: “Promoting Sustainable Plastic Value Chains Through Circular Economy Practices”.
Presidential Diary reports that the project is targeted at contributing to Nigeria’s inclusive and sustainable industrial development and reduce leakages of plastics to the environment through the promotion of circular economy principles and practices.
On modalities for the collection of plastic wastes, Banjo said: “When these plastics are not collected from source but from dumpsites, streets or markets, it reduces their economic value in the sense that it increases the cost at which they are processed to be put back into the environment.
“But if they are collected at source, the contamination level will be very minimal and they can be recycled especially for food.
“For instance, companies like Coca-Cola, Nigerian Breweries and Cadbury can still reuse the waste bottles they can buy from recyclers and package food.”
He noted that UNIDO is exploring the model and one of the activities under the model is to collect plastics from the source.
The national programme coordinator hinted that for a circular economy to be successful, it required the collaboration of collectors, manufacturers and the residents, just as he appreciated the FCTA for the support extended towards the implementation of the project.
He stated that AEPB is working assiduously to develop the Action Plan for Abuja and Jabi lake was selected for the pilot demonstration.
Banjo hinted that Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) and Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) selected Lekki and Yaba for the pilot demonstration in Lagos.
He disclosed that the first flag- off of the programme which took place in the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) in 2022, was meant to sensitise the publics on the plastic circular economy in Nigeria.
Banjo was hopeful that the project would extend across the 35 States in the next five years.
The National Programme Officer of UNIDO, Dr Osuji Otu pointed out that plastics and other e-wastes are global issues that the United Nations is trying to sort out with other bodies.
He noted that UNIDO is excited working with three agencies like the AEPB, LAWMA and LASEPA, and the project is advancing at alarming rate.
Otu hinted that UNIDO is working hard to get rid of plastic waste in Nigeria, which he believed would create wealth.
He said that the UN body looked forward to working with AEPB in subsequent waste management programmes.
The Project Manager of UNIDO, Ms. Nahomi Nishio said that the seminar, which focused mostly on raising awareness for plastic pollution would minimise waste in the environment.
She lamented that the excessive use of plastics is devastating the planet as seen in the oceans, seas and lakes, saying that it endangers the life of aquatic animals and plants.
The Assistant Director of Solid Waste Management, Federal Ministry of Environment, Mr Dangiwa Orume disclosed that plastic pollution has been endangering the ecosystem, marine life and contributing to the devastating impact of climate change.
“The concept of a plastic circular economy has gained significant traction in recent years. The idea behind a circular economy is to minimise waste and maximise the value of resources by keeping materials in use as long as possible.
“It involves recycling, reusing and reducing the consumption of plastics, ultimately contributing to a more sustainable future,” he added.
Orume harped on the need to support initiatives and businesses that are working towards a circular economy by purchasing products made from recycled plastics or supporting companies that are committed to sustainable practices.
This, he believed would encourage the transition to a more environmentally friendly system.
The expert pointed out that by raising awareness on the importance of plastic circular economy, the stakeholders are not only protecting the environment but also fostering a mindset of responsible consumption that would benefit all Nigerians.
BY CHIKA OKEKE, Abuja