Stakeholders in the sustainability sector have called on the Nigeria government to partner the private sector in scaling up efficient recycling plants across the country.
The experts stated this in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday at the 8th annual Circular Economy Conference in Nairobi, Kenya.
Ms Clare Romanik, Lead Ocean Plastics and Urban Advisor, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) stressed the need for Nigeria to diligently implement its various environmental and waste control regulations.
She decried the increasing pollution of the environment, rivers, lakes, and oceans by plastic waste, while calling for concerted efforts to address the alarming trend.
“Countries can make their decisions on how to deal with plastic pollution based on what they see as important and constantly put out incentives.
“So, countries like Nigeria need to consider what is right, but absolutely more recycling plants are necessary across the country.
“I also think products that are not easily recyclable, then the government needs to tell the industry players, you need to change something about your production,” she said.
Ms Shereen Shaheen, Head of Corporate Affairs, Middle East/Africa, Tetra Pak, a leading food processing and packaging solutions company said they were working with the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) and other stakeholders to address the sustainability issue.
She emphasised the need for Nigeria to put in place more effective waste management regulations, while ensuring strict implementation and compliance.
“We are working with LASEPA and other ministries to address this, but one of the major challenges Nigeria and other African countries are facing is that they import most of the raw materials and packaging is not locally sourced.
“One of the areas of focus is how can you be sustainable, you don’t want to be dependent on certain materials that at the end are not recyclable,” she said.
Shaheen highlighted the need to do more to ensure proper recycling, sorting and collection of wastes across the country, to prevent their pollution of the environment.
“There is a need to have a lot of recycling facilities that are ready to recycle materials of different types, there is a need for more sorting and collection at different points across the country,” she explained.
There is a need to have a lot of recycling facilities that are ready to recycle materials of different types, there is a need for more sorting and collection at different points across the country.
Dr George Njenga, Founder, Strathmore Business School, Kenya and Chief of Party, USAID strategic partnership stressed the need for more awareness, especially to Nigerians in rural areas on the benefits of a circular economy.
“I think the issue with Nigeria will be how to reach the largest population who live in villages and slum areas, how do you cover the North and South.
“There is a need to put in place infrastructure and this must come from the government, supported by the AU, you have to also work with donor partners, states and local governments to educate through a positive mindset for profit,” he said.
Njenga advised the Federal Government to give tax incentives to recycling companies and enact policies that will encourage Nigerians to take used plastics to recycling plants.
“If a company is not recycling its product and doesn’t have a green certificate, then don’t import the product, because it’s destroying the society.
“Government should give tax incentives to companies to recycle plastics, so that they don’t eventually pollute the environment and rivers,” he said.
NAN reports that the Circular Economy Conference had sustainability stakeholders, the Academia, captains of industry, entrepreneurs from across Africa in attendance.
The conference deliberated on innovations in sustainable circular business development with focus on various themes, including waste to value, plastics, circular economy, Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), packaging, agriculture among others. (NAN)