By ibrahima yakubu
Every year, 8 million metric tons of plastics enter our ocean on top of the estimated 150 million metric tons that currently circulate our marine environments world-wide.
But as the volume of waste continues causing health and environmental hazard which include Floating cans, nylon water sachets, empty bottles and other waste materials discarded by humans, swept there by rain, gathering and clogging up the drain.,there is need to increase recycled companies across the globe ,in order to reduce the amount of waste causing issues related to the environment.
Plastic waste management has become a topical issue, especially the contamination of marine and fresh water environments while causing serious health and environmental pollution that is contributing to the killings of many aquatics and other living things on earth.
An environmentalist , The Chairman, Shehu Plastic & Company Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Usman, on Saturday said the Company had transformed many Kaduna Street waste to useful domestic materials through recycling.
Usman said this when African Climate Reporters paid a courtesy visit to the recycling plant in Kaduna, Kaduna State.
“In many African countries, approximately 12% of waste plastics are recycled and the rest are disposed, burned or buried”
According to him, waste recycling is a major component of waste management that involves the conversion of waste to reusable products for both domestic and office use.
”This is one of the biggest recycling plants in the North where plastic bottles, rubber and other waste materials are collected and transformed to various domestic uses.
”We buy these plastic bottles, rubbers and other waste materials from scavengers and waste commercial sellers and transform them to various uses.
”The machines grind the waste materials into pieces, after which we take the pieces to where they design new products.
”The pieces are turned into buckets, cups, rubber kettles and basins which can be used for domestic purposes and even in the gardens,” he said.
Shehu said that the company transformed about five tonnes of plastic rubber waste to useful domestic materials monthly, adding that the finished products were sold in Kaduna and other parts of the country.
He said that waste recycling helped in “conserving natural resources, save the environment from pollution and other environmental challenges.”
The Chairman maintained that recycling was an alternative to conventional waste disposal and help to lower greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.
He stated that recycling was an important business in developed countries, adding that it was only of recent that African countries were coming up with plans to recycle waste.
According to Shehu, recycling helps in cleaning the environment and also generates income for many unemployed youths engaged in the business.
Shehu said that there were shortage of recycling companies in the region, adding that epileptic power supply and insecurity were crippling development of many companies in the North.
He said that dirty environment affect the standard of living, aesthetic sensibilities and health of the people as well as the quality of their lives.
Shehu said that producing new products from recycled materials was a cost effective way of managing production cost.
Dr Piman Hoffman, the Director African Climate Reporters, said that the Federal Government should encourage more recycling companies across the country.
He said that these would help in tackling waste causing various diseases and other environmental challenges in the society.
According to him, the economy also benefits from recycling as it reduces the cost to clear dump sites.
There is also the need for attitudinal change by consumers towards waste, as well as the provision of basic infrastructure and incentives to encourage local small-scale recyclers.
He stated that government could save additional millions of naira when such dump sites were reserved for other revenue generating purposes.
Hoffman said that there was need to support recycling companies financially, adding that residents could also benefit by selling recycling materials to cover the cost of disposing waste.
There is the need for sustainable management of waste plastics in Africa. Potential mitigating strategies include reduction, reuse, recycling, waste conversion to energy, and appropriate policy frameworks for plastic control and restriction
Plastic touches all of our lives, from the food packaging we buy to the computers we work with and the cars we drive. But many of the plastics you touch in your daily life are used only once and thrown away.
So much of this plastic is ending up in the ocean that in just a few years, we might end up with a pound of plastic for every three pounds of fish in the sea. But the future of plastics in our ocean will be determined by the way we handle plastics on land.