As the world marks the 2023 World Environment Day, the African Indigenous Foundation for Energy and Sustainable Development, AIFES has urged the masses in Rivers State to; “Bag the waste, Recycle the plastics and let the drains flow as part of its campaign to beat the plastic pollution.
The campaign theme for the 2023 edition of World Environment Day is #BeatPlasticPollution with a focus on Ecosystem Restoration and AIFES is joining the campaign calling on people around the world to be more sensitive and commit themselves to stop the damaging effects of plastic wastes to the environment.
The Foundation expressed worries about the fast and unabated destructive and indiscriminate activities of users of plastic materials on the ecosystem, particularly the drains, streams, rivers, other water bodies, and the careless disposal of these materials in other undesignated areas in the neighbourhoods.
It advocated strict compliance with regulatory provisions and laws for bagging all domestic and industrial wastes, recycling used plastic materials and an end to the dumping of malleable items in the drains and other waterways.
The AIFES said; “While the use of plastics cannot be avoided at homes, offices and public places, it is important that citizens, particularly users make conscious efforts to properly dispose of them after use, considering the hazards and challenges they constitute to the environment and activities of other people.
“Most worrisome is the indiscriminate dumping of these plastics in the drains and most waterways, which causes a blockage, resulting in flooding and filthiness of the environment. Aquatic life is threatened as mangrove vegetation is destroyed, fishes are exterminated and water bodies are polluted.
Haven suffered the hazards overwhelmingly, we believe this year’s World Environment Day affords us the opportunity not only to draw global attention to the plights of our people living at the waterfronts and in the coastal communities contending with the invading plastic flood.
We, therefore, call on government agencies and companies to provide receptacles and polyethene bags for the citizens to use at homes, in offices, streets, public places and neighbourhoods”.
AIFES declared that it was imperative that measures be put in place by the government to prevent and checkmate the wrongful use and disposal of these plastics by both corporate and individual citizens.
“We propose the setting up of monitoring agents and special marshals for community surveillance and information on the indiscriminate use of the materials by households, business operators and other corporate bodies”, said Legborsi Saro-Pyagbara, Executive Director, AIFES.
Pyagbara urged the federal and sub-national governments to establish functional recycling plants for plastic wastes and engage scavengers to pick up the waste materials from the streets and public places.
He added; “Neighbourhood sanitation agents should also be commissioned in all local government areas, while the State Sanitation Authority be empowered to properly execute laws prohibiting indiscriminate dumping of waste without exception.
“It is our conviction that if the above measures are taken appropriately, there will be a drastic reduction in not only plastic pollution but harmful practices in wastes generation, handling and disposal.
“The use of fungal enzymes like hydrolases and oxidoreductases in plastic biodegradation is also recommended”.