AFRICA IS LOOKING TO TOTALLY KNOCK OUT THE USE OF PLASTICS FOR PACKAGING, ESPECIALLY IN THE FOOD AND DRINKS CATEGORY
I sat in a geology class very recently and my observation stunned me. They were talking about environmental hazards, and topping their list wasn’t earthquake (thankfully there are very few occurrences in Africa, some are fatal, like the one that happened in Haiti a few years ago, but Africa isn’t synonymous to earthquakes as some other continents are), tsunami, volcanic eruptions, and so on. The two highest ranking hazards up for discussion were climate change and plastic waste – this article shall focus on the latter.
The United Nations environment programme states that 95% of marine wastes are plastics and as a result has initiated a “beat the plastic pollution” initiative.
I didn’t know that these plastics we carry around and feel good about because of the comfort and how fancy it makes us look was causing more harm than good. Plastic waste has increasingly become a nuisance and it has attracted the attention of many governments in Africa – we want to leave the earth as healthy and as organic as we met it.
Nigeria launched the “Beat Plastic Pollution” campaign in 2018 to sensitize the populace and strengthen laws against plastic waste, however, the campaign is a continent wide initiative supported by the UN and has been embraced by several African countries such as Cameroon, Egypt, Eritrea, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritania, Morocco, Rwanda, South Africa and Tanzania have taken the lead, others, like Botswana and Ethiopia, are following suit. Africa seems to be at the fore front of this battlefield as 80% of African nations have enacted the UN initiative – globalcitizen.org.
So what should we do?
We should continue to do what we are doing. The third mainland bridge in Nigeria wasn’t built in a day, so we must continue to sensitize the public about the health hazards of plastic wastes, enforce laws against this epidemic, and encourage manufactures to explore other Eco-friendly options.