In the bustling streets of Lagos, Maryam Lawani’s frustration with the aftermath of rain led her to confront a global issue: plastic pollution.
Living in the Oshodi Isolo area, where rain often transforms the streets into messy canals and leaves behind a trail of plastic waste, Lawani decided it was time to take action.
“I felt a strong need to prevent climate crises as a response to a personal pain point,” Lawani’s journey began with researching the recurring problem, leading her to the realization that plastic pollution was not just a local concern but a worldwide crisis.
According to the United Nations, the world produces an average of 430 million tonnes of plastic annually, contributing to dire consequences such as over 2,000 garbage trucks’ worth of plastic dumped into water bodies daily.
The UN warns that without intervention, plastic pollution is set to triple by 2060.
Nigeria, in particular, grapples with a significant plastic waste challenge, generating about 2.5 million metric tonnes annually. Over 130,000 tonnes of plastic find their way into water bodies, earning the country a spot among the top 20 contributors to marine debris globally.
Despite having waste dumping sites, the country faces difficulties in managing large volumes of waste effectively.
Olumide Idowu, the executive director for the International Climate Change Initiative, emphasizes the need for proper waste collection and recycling facilities to combat plastic pollution successfully.
While Nigeria launched the Nigeria Circular Economy Policy in 2020 to transition towards sustainable waste management, experts argue that more concrete measures are necessary.
Nigeria’s efforts have fallen short, unlike some developing countries like Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania, which have taken steps to ban or phase out single-use plastics.
Idowu suggests that Nigeria may need to strengthen existing regulations or introduce new ones to address plastic pollution. However, the challenge lies in enforcing these regulations in a country with a large population.
Economic constraints and a lack of alternative packaging options could hinder the transition from single-use plastics.
As climate shocks, including floods, impact parts of sub-Saharan Africa, visible signs of blocked drainages and pollution persist in Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous city.
Lawani’s initiative reflects the urgent need for collective action and comprehensive strategies to combat the plastic pollution crisis that continues to plague the nation.
This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members