Olayemi Samson is a Nigerian entrepreneur. He is turning plastic waste into useful things like clothing, school bags, car covers and shoes.
Samson says he is doing his part to fight pollution and support recycling while making a style statement.
A World Bank report says the city of Lagos makes about 9,000 metric tons of waste a day. Samson says part of that waste includes about 27 million plastic water bags.
“This waste, it takes takes 20 to 30 years before they decay. Where are they going to?”
Samson says that is when he came up with the idea of changing the waste into something useful.
The first step in Samson’s process is to collect the used bags from a dumpsite. Then, he washes them. After that, he can begin to sew the bags together, making car covers, school bags and other goods.
His latest recycled creation is a raincoat.
Some people cannot see past the history of Samson’s creations. Emmanuel Itiniyi of Lagos says the products are dirty.
He says, “I won’t allow my child to wear it as a cloth to go to school or a bag to go to school. It doesn’t make any sense.”
But others are more accepting, like Victor Anyaese.
“Yes I can use it because, seeing the picture, it looks lovely. But it depends on the kind of outfit I am using it for. But I can use it probably for leisure.”
Samson’s business is not profitable yet. But he hopes his work will help push young people and people in power to protect the environment.
SOURCE: VOA NEWS
During the Yuletide season in 2021, one of the common features of the many photos and videos shared on social media by Nigerians was the sight of littered plastic bags and bottles on the floors of various enjoyment spots.
While there’d definitely be cleaners at these places to collect the wastes at the end of the day, the sight just shows the lackadaisical attitude of Nigerians towards the environment. And perhaps, the city of Lagos, being the most populous state in the country, is the most affected by this attitude.
Not many people know that open burning of plastic waste, consumption of plastic-contaminated seafood and creation of harmful microplastics can badly affect human health. But the purpose of this piece is not to use big biochemical terms in explaining how materials that are non-biodegradable can really affect us.
The goal here is to explain the key information being passed by the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) who, sometime last week, intensified its campaign against the use of plastics among its staff, as a follow-up of a campaign in February 2020, when the use of plastic bags and bottles were banned within its office premises.
In its recent move, the agency decried the increasing rate of single-use plastics, pet bottles, polystyrene and other non-biodegradable wastes including “polly” and nylon bags in different parts of the state. Here are three major takeaways from the advocacy, explained in terms that can easily be grasped.
Plastic is harmful to the environment and to human health
The biochemistry of plastics will probably bore you, but the long and short of the matter is that the little container you recently drank or ate from and threw away from the car window into the canal, could come back to haunt you and the rest of us in future.
The indiscriminate disposal of plastics on the streets actually affects more than the aesthetics of the environment. The waste often ends up in waterways (e.g the lagoon), where the materials used in making the plastic product slowly breaks down and the fishes in the water get to ingest them. Then humans who eventually eat these fishes become the most affected in the long run.
The knowledge of this would spur everyone to be mindful of how they use and dispose plastic materials as well as other wastes that behave in a similar way.
You can get paid for proper disposal of plastics
Instead of throwing your used plastics away for nothing, you can actually get some monetary returns by handing them over to appropriate authorities for reuse.
At a recent event, a Lagos bigwig said, “The Ministry of Environment and Water Resources has a Plastic Waste Management Policy in place, we also have a recycling bank for plastic wastes within its premises where people can exchange their plastic wastes for money.
“So we are not just advocating for a cleaner environment through our policy on plastic waste management, but we have also put a reward system in place to encourage willful compliance.”
Imagine paying N200 for a pet drink but having the opportunity to get some change in return if you could “dispose” of the bottle at a designated area. You get satisfaction from what you consume and you also get some money back for the waste bottle.
So the Lagos campaign is asking residents to cut down on the use of plastics, and going a step further to encourage them with appealing measures, to the end that the rate of some avoidable loss of lives caused by polluted environments can be reduced.
There is an impending total ban on the use of plastics in Lagos
At this point, it is quite important that we don’t get too comfortable with using plastics because, soon and very soon, there could be a ban placed on the material across Lagos. It probably sounded impossible, but it might interest you to know that all members of staff of the aforementioned Lagos agency are no longer using plastics especially in office premises.
There has been an official ban on single-use plastics among staff, and the idea is that, if successfully implemented among the agency staff, the advocacy would be introduced for emulation by other ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs of the state, and eventually the entire state.
“This pilot scheme would serve as a blueprint and guide towards government policy thrust on a total ban on single-use plastic and further help in securing the environment and leave a better legacy for future generations,” a statement read.
The world is already aware of the damage that the production, distribution and litter of plastics can cause, hence in countries like Canada, Norway and even Rwanda, residents are expected to go for shopping along with their reusable bags, and are made to pay if they demand for an extra, just to discourage the influx of plastics into the environment.
And since the whole world is obviously in the fight to reduce the impacts of single-use plastic products, Nigeria cannot be left out. Eventually, the war against the pollution will be fully taken to the streets. So, brace up now by opting for reusable alternatives!
By Ben Ugbana
A graduate student of environmental management at the University of Lagos, Ugbana is a Lagos-based media professional and environment enthusiast
The world is in a struggle with plastic. It can’t seem to do without it and definitely can’t live with it. It litters the landscape, cloaks the drains and gutters and fills the canals, rivers and oceans. The UN says ‘the world is choking on plastic’ and National Geographic says ‘the world is drowning in plastic’.
Plastic is in almost everything. It is nearly everywhere. It is the true definition of ubiquitous. Experts concede that plastic waste is one of the major challenges to the environment and human existence. Indeed, plastics hold the world in a vice-like grip. It is impossible to escape plastic. Plastic waste is a plague.
The Principles for Responsible Investment in its 2019 report “The Plastics Landscape: The Challenges and Possible Solutions” asserts that across the globe plastic production and consumption are on the rise. And with less than 20 per cent of plastics recycled globally, it is no surprise that plastic waste is becoming more prevalent.
Another factor here is that 40 per cent of global plastics production is for packaging and 95 per cent is single-use. So, growth in production and consumption pattern along with an inefficient waste management system continues to precipitate an increasing volume of plastic waste.
Lagos alone generates 9000 metric tons of waste daily; 86% of the waste generated consists of plastic bottles and bags according to The Lagos State Waste Management Authority.
The real problem with plastic is that it does not break down naturally. The very properties that led to the rise in the adoption of plastics (durability, low density and non-degradability) are precisely why they are today an environmental nightmare.
To tackle the threat of plastic overwhelming the world every hand has to be on board. The public, as well as private, sectors, must be involved and necessarily be willing to work together. Plastics may be an environmental challenge, but they are equally a path to immense opportunities. Plastics can be a source of a great number of jobs and they are reused as raw materials for the production of other goods. Think of the circular economy: design, reuse, repair and recycling.
The Minister of Environment, Barr. Mohammed Abdullahi while speaking in Abuja at the inaugural meeting of the project steering committee for the plastic circular economy project, lamented that “only 45 per cent of waste in Nigeria are collected, 80 per cent of plastic waste goes to dump site while only 10 per cent is recycled.” The statistics are worrying. Suffice it to say that Nigeria has no efficient waste management system in place. Plastics are a menace.
At the core of the plastic menace are PET bottles, or polyethene terephthalate bottles. PET bottles pose a significant environmental threat due to their non-biodegradable nature. When they end up in landfills or oceans, they can take hundreds of years to decompose and release harmful chemicals into the environment. Additionally, discarded PET bottles can cause harm to wildlife, with many marine animals consuming them, leading to serious health consequences. The scale of the issue is significant, with billions of PET bottles produced annually, and only a fraction of them being recycled or properly disposed of.
To address the issue of plastic waste, we must explore how to tackle the proper disposal of PET bottles.
To make a meaningful impact in addressing the issue of PET bottles, collaborative efforts are needed from bottlers, governments, and NGOs. In the fight for a sustainable future, collaboration is indispensable.
Firstly, bottlers can collaborate with governments and NGOs to support initiatives aimed at reducing plastic waste, such as awareness campaigns, recycling infrastructure improvements, and the promotion of reusable bottles.
Secondly, governments can work with bottlers and NGOs to establish policies and regulations that promote sustainable packaging practices and support research and innovation in alternative packaging materials and recycling technologies.
Thirdly, NGOs can play a critical role in raising awareness of the issue and promoting behavioural change among consumers. NGOs can work with governments and bottlers to support initiatives aimed at reducing plastic waste, including education and awareness campaigns.
Without active and sustained collaborative efforts the battle to curb PET doesn’t stand a chance.
Specifically, while several potential solutions can be explored to curb the menace of plastic (PET) waste, four of them can be implemented immediately:
Firstly, promote the use of reusable bottles, such as stainless steel or glass bottles. They can be used multiple times and do not contribute to plastic waste. This can be done through education and awareness campaigns, or by incentivizing the use of reusable bottles through discounts or other incentives.
Secondly, improve recycling infrastructure. This may include setting up more recycling centres, implementing effective collection systems, and creating markets for recycled PET. This can ensure that more PET bottles are recycled into new products, reducing the amount that ends up in the environment. Governments at the state and local levels must take the lead here.
Thirdly, governments can implement a bottle deposit system. Under this system, consumers pay a small fee when purchasing bottled drinks and receive a refund when returning the empty bottle. This system can incentivize consumers to return bottles for recycling, reducing the amount of waste that ends up in the environment. Bottlers must champion this and work actively with relevant government agencies.
Fourthly, bottlers of drinks can explore the use of biodegradable alternatives to PET bottles. Here we are talking about plant-based materials that can decompose naturally in the environment. Additionally, bottlers can reduce the amount of packaging used, and support recycling efforts.
There is no one size fits all solution to the problem of plastic (PET) waste management. Every option must be explored; every solution considered.
But more importantly, collaboration must be the watchword. In collaborating to tackle the menace of plastic pollution, we are engaged in a collective struggle for a sustainable future.
SOURCE: THIS DAY- Elvis Eromosele, Lagos
Do you know that plastic waste is a type of waste that takes
hundreds of years to degrade in a landfill? Have you calculated
how many you have used and disposed in the last 1-2 years?
The dangers of continuous use of plastics without recycling are
enormous. They get into soil and slowly release toxic chemicals that
harm the food chain. When they find their way into rivers and oceans,
some marine animals that eat them often choke and die, while others get
toxic substances released into their bodies. When eaten by humans, they
lead to health challenges.
It’s time to wake up and save our environment from the dangers of
Three months after two of the largest supermarket chains banned plastic grocery bags, an estimated 1.5 billion bags have been prevented from use, the Australian Associated Press reported, citing the National Retail Association.
Overall, the bans introduced by Coles and Woolworths last summer resulted in an 80 percent reduction in the country’s overall use of the single-use item, the retail group revealed.
“Indeed, some retailers are reporting reduction rates as high as 90 per cent,” National Retail Association’s David Stout told the news service.
Initially, some customers felt “bag rage” about having to BYO-bag or fork over 15 Australian cents (11 cents) to buy a reusable one. Woolworths execs blamed slumping sales on “customers adjusting” to the plastic bag ban. Coles even briefly backed down on the bag ban and caught a lot of flak from environmentally conscious shoppers for giving away reusable plastic bags.
But the good news is that it seems most Aussies haven’t found it too hard to adjust to the change—and that’s fantastic for our landfills, oceans and the greater environment, which have become dumping grounds for our plastic waste.
Stout applauded the progress but shared hopes that the Australian government will get behind a nationwide ban. New South Wales, the nation’s most populous state, is the only state that has not legislated to phase out single-use plastic bags.
There has been a growing movement to ban or tax these bags. Around the world, at least 32 countries have bans in place, according to reusable bag company ReuseThisBag.
“We’re still seeing a lot of small to medium bags being used, especially in the food category, and whilst I get some comfort that the majors have done this voluntarily I think there still needs to be a ban in place,” he told the Australian Associated Press.
“For business, for the environment, for the consumer and of course even for councils which have to work to remove these things from landfills, there’s a multitude of benefits on a whole to doing this.”
Plastics have much to offer as a modern convenience, but lack of responsible plastic waste management habits can lead to potentially harmful environmental effects. Past environmental initiatives revealed a lack of understanding about youth attitudes towards pro‐environmental issues. Plastic, an online public environmental promotional campaign, encouraged youth to recognize the importance of, adopt positive attitudes towards and subsequently adopt the practice of responsible plastic management. We propose the Temporal Incentives Model of Social Influence to guide social campaign design. A pre‐post quantitative research design showed that the pre‐contemplation, contemplation and preparation stages progressed significantly after the campaign. The findings suggest that stimuli incorporating specialized information and small action steps allow migration to successive stages. With the strong presence of internet culture among youth, the online medium was found effective in altering the attitudes of the campaign target audience, while exposure to the campaign messages proved useful in encouraging environmental learning among youth.
A recyclable, folding cycling helmet made of paper has won this year’s prestigious international James Dyson Award.
Isis Shiffer, a recent graduate of the Pratt Institute of Design in New York, made the EcoHelmet from layers of recycled paper woven into a honeycomb-shaped structure. More…