Climate change and climate action have dominated the discussions of various countries and global organizations for decades. Apart from attending summits held in European countries, African countries have now held their own climate summit this year. This unified agenda promotes less use of fossil fuel to reduce carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere as well as promoting recycling different materials to prevent environmental degradation and contamination. Recycling is the act or process of converting waste into reusable material. Instead of materials such as plastic and paper to be dumped on sites or into the ocean, they can be reused to benefit the planet.
Proper investment, policy incentives and public-private partnerships (PPP) have been identified as critical foundations in driving adoption and compliance with recycling standards across industries. Participants who spoke at a recent “Trash Talk” summit on addressing packaging waste pollution in Lagos agreed that producers, corporate users, and consumers all play a pivotal role in shifting Nigeria recycling and waste management culture. The summit, which had the theme “Beating Packaging Waste Pollution in Lagos By 2025,” was organized by the Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance (FBRA) and the Lagos State Government (LASG).
Shared commitment between LASG and FBRA to tackle pollution.
Stakeholders across packaging and bottling industries, government agencies, and the recycling alliance were engaged to enforce a collective responsibility for packaging waste pollution in the state by reviewing the state’s current recycling position and defining the next steps to promote a cleaner Lagos. To bring about change and ensure the success of a cleaner environment, FBRA charged the private sector to push harder on their sustainability practices and align on industry frameworks around waste management.
Speaking at the event, Ziad Maalouf, FBRA’s chairman, expressed delight in partnering with the government for the recycling workshop. He said that it is a testament to a shared commitment to a sustainable future with reduced packaging waste pollution. Maalouf said the goal to beat packaging waste pollution in Lagos by 2025 is one that resonates with the alliance’s stakeholders and partners. “Collectively, we believe our enthusiasm can be spun into action, as we pave the way for a greener, cleaner, and more eco-conscious Nigeria,” he said.
There are roles in facilitating sustainable development in Nigeria.
Also speaking was Dolapo Fasawe, the general manager at the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) said that the Lagos State Government is working with the FBRA to encourage private-sector participation in packaging waste management within Lagos. He explained that in order to mirror the progress made in countries like Indonesia and Rwanda on waste management, LASEPA co-facilitated the Trash Talk workshop to further uncover collective roles in facilitating sustainable development and to address the barriers that hinder the adoption of recycling practices amongst communities.
Commenting further on the goals of the Trash Talk Workshop, Babatunde Irukera, Executive Vice Chairman of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), noted that sustainability is the most important conversation today globally, and it is about whether this world will be habitable over a period of time. He therefore said that there is a need for concerted actions amongst all stakeholders whose businesses affect the environment in one way or another. This includes regulators, government, civil society, financers, the private sector, and others.
Cost of air pollution in Lagos is concerning.
Meanwhile, according to the Clean Air Fund, Lagos contributes significantly to the pollution in Nigeria. In 2019, the annual average PM2.5 level in Nigeria was 14 times greater than the 2021 recommended levels by the World Health Organization. As well, the cost of air pollution alone in Lagos is concerning. The leading cause of such is road transport. Also, residents use petrol generators which adds to the pollution of the atmosphere. In 2018, air pollution reportedly caused 11,200 premature deaths, which was the highest in West Africa.
Clean Air Fund: Website