A Nigerian museum in the face of the plastic waste crisis – SURFACE

In Nigeria, plastic waste in the form of discarded food wrappers, plastic bottles and single-use bags has become commonplace. The African country generates around 2.75 million tonnes of discarded plastics annually, and inefficient waste management infrastructure means 70% of it ends up in landfills, sewers, beaches and other waterways. Waste from Lagos, for example, spills into the Gulf of Guinea, releasing dangerous chemicals into the water supply and causing numerous public health risks.

The country’s worsening pollution problem caught the attention of Jumoke Olowookere, an artist and former teacher based in Ibadan City, who decided to store used plastic, nylon and corn husks in her kitchen while learning to give a second life to the material. The ecopreneur opened the Musée des Déchets with the aim of training individuals and organizations on sustainable ways to create wealth through the recycling and recovery of their waste. “We have a long way to go to get this sustainable world without waste,” Olowookere said. Reuters. “We need to stand up and take responsibility for our waste.” The institution displays its latest works of art made from tires, fabrics, wine corks and plastic bottles, which it also uses to create equipment for schoolyards. Works by other artists are also on display, including ottoman furniture and ceiling panels made from tires and jewelry made from bottle caps.

The museum’s debut comes as the conversation around plastic waste heats up. Last week, world leaders from 175 countries agreed to draw up a legally binding United Nations treaty to regulate the production and design of plastic on a global scale for the first time. Passed at the United Nations Environment Assembly with a recycled plastic gavel, the treaty also sets universal targets for reducing plastic waste, just as the Paris Agreement does for carbon emissions. carbon.

Bryce K. Locke