WED: Orelope-Adefulire Charges Stakeholders to Beat Plastic Pollution

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  •   Obaseki seeks attitudinal change in waste mgt

Abimbola Akosile

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire has called on stakeholders to support the drive to beat the unending pollution caused by inappropriate disposal of plastic materials.

Orelope-Adefulire gave this charge in a statement issued in commemoration of the 2018 World Environment Day celebration with the theme: \Beat Plastic Pollution’. She added that plastic pollution has become an epidemic in the society and indeed across the world.

The Presidential Aide aligned with reports by UN Environment, which shows that “we throw away enough plastic to circle the Earth four times every year. Much of that waste doesn’t make it into a landfill, but instead ends up in our oceans, where it’s responsible for killing one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals every year, and it can persist for up to 1,000 years before it fully disintegrates. For the good of the planet, it’s time to rethink how we use plastic.”

She maintained that there is need for the public to help beat plastic pollution by switching to materials that are easily reusable as alternative to plastic, adding that as the planet continues to grow relentlessly in population, a corresponding growth in waste products also occurs.

She noted that though the society has an etiquette that separates waste products from the immediate living areas, the waste however creates huge environmental problems and impacts the entire planet. She therefore advocated for continuous recycling as a method to deal responsibly with the plastic problem, according to a statement issued by the Media Assistant to the SSAP-SDGs, Desmond Utomwen.
The goal of recycling is to separate waste products into two major categories, Biodegradable and Non-biodegradable, with plastic constituting a larger part of the non-biodegradable waste component.

“Beat Plastic Pollution”, is a call to action for everyone to come together to combat one of the great environmental challenges of our time. It also invites all to consider how they can make changes in their everyday lives to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on the environment, wildlife and the health of the people.

While plastic has many valuable uses, people have become over reliant on single-use or disposable plastic – with severe environmental consequences. Around the world, 1 million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute. Every year, up to 5 trillion disposable plastic bags are used, with 50 per cent of the total plastic in single use.

In a related development, the Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has warned on the danger posed by poor waste management system to humans and the environment, and has recommended innovative ways to eliminate the heaps of debris and garbage that dot most cities of the world.

Obaseki who gave the advice in commemoration of the World Environment Day, observed on June 5, each year, said stakeholders in the environment sector must activate a common operational template that promotes a proactive approach to waste management, beginning with the right attitude.

“The right attitude will help in the choices we make on waste accumulation, disposal and whether we will support government policies on environmental protection and preservation and embrace waste recycling and other waste to wealth initiatives,” the governor said.
He noted that “with the avalanche of ideas, new research findings and innovations on waste management that can be sourced through international partnerships and the information super highway, poor capacity to waste management is inexcusable.”

He assured that “with the ongoing reforms in the Edo State Ministry of Environment and Sustainability, his administration is fine-tuning measures to exceed the expectations of Edo people and residents, as a clean and green Edo environment is non-negotiable.”

Speaking on the theme, Obaseki averred that the management of plastic waste has proved intractable across the world and proffered the use of recyclable and eco-friendly materials to protect and preserve aquatic and other living organisms as well as the physical environment.”

At an event organised to mark the WED, the governor who was represented by the Commissioner for Environment and Sustainability, Omoua Alonge Oni-Okpaku, said the state government was committed to reforms that are designed to preserve the environment against threat to human existence.

According to the UN, “World Environment Day is principal vehicle for encouraging awareness and action for the protection of our environment.

“First held in 1974, it has been a flagship campaign for raising awareness on emerging environmental issues from marine pollution, human overpopulation, and global warming, to sustainable consumption and wildlife crime.”

The global body added that the day “has grown to become a global platform for public outreach, with participation from over 143 countries annually. Each year, WED has a new theme that major corporations, NGOs, communities, governments and celebrities worldwide adopt to advocate environmental causes.”