Samuel Bello, Abuja

The National Orientation Agency (NOA) has called on manufacturers and shopping outlets to have a standard for compostable and biodegradable packaging of products to minimise the availability of plastic pollutants in the country.

Director General of the Agency, Dr. Garba Abari, said this on Wednesday, in Abuja, at a sensitisation programme organised by Centre for Peace and Environment Justice (CEPEJ) in partnership with NOA to commemorate  World Environment Day (WED), 2018 with the theme, “Beat Plastic Pollutants”.

Abari, who was represented by the Director of Documentation and Publication, Davidson Aminu, said the programme was organized to consider the enormous dangers posed by plastic waste to the environment, planet and by extension, the human existence.

He said the accumulation of plastic products in the country was as a result of the unhealthy attitude of Nigerians to ease disposal, which pays little heed to environmental impact.

He added that the agency would deploy the strength of its presence in all 774 Local Government Areas (LGA) and the 36 States of the federation and the FCT to ensure the attitude change campaign reaches all nooks and crannies of the nation.

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“We cannot but admit that yet another invention which positively revolutionised our lives has also become great pollutant potentially threatening life on land and water.

“It is estimated that 13 million tonnes of plastic pollution find their way into the ocean each year, amounting to approximately 165 million tonnes of pollution in the world’s ocean as at 2012. 83 percent of tap water samples around the world in 2017 contained plastic pollutants and plastic products take between 50-600 years to decompose.

“If we as individuals, do not dump refuse indiscriminately, plastic pollutants will not find their way to our water bodies. If we individually refuse to use plastics when we are not sure of reusing them, we can reduce plastic pollution in our environment. Our manufacturers and shopping outlets must also begin to adopt bio-degredable packaging for their products to minimise the availability of plastic pollutants in our society.

Also speaking at the event, National Coordinator of CEPEJ, Sheriff Mulade, said it had become imperative for everyone to take ownership of the environment and actively engage in its protection, to beat plastic pollution, indiscriminate dumping of plastic bags and containers.

He added that collectively, all negativities that are present in the environment can be eliminated, as well as improve on the various development and urbanisation processes towards achieving environmental sustainability.