Plastic Waste Management in Nigeria: BCCC-Africa Begins Stakeholder Inventory and Mapping

The Basel Convention Coordination Center for the African Region (BCCC-Africa) hosted stakeholders in the plastic waste value chain as part of a workshop to launch a project entitled: “Promoting a management and Environmentally Sound Monitoring of Cross-Border Plastic Waste Trade in Nigeria, through Stakeholder Mapping” which is being implemented in Nigeria.

The project launch workshop was held on August 10 in Lagos.

It involved stakeholders from the Federal Ministry of Environment, NESREA, Nigeria Customs Service, National Associations of Plastics Manufacturers and Recyclers, Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance (FBRA) , state waste management authorities and state environmental protection agencies.

The project is funded by the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS) under its Small Grants Program (SGP) on plastic waste.

Funding was secured by the BRS Secretariat from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad).

The main objectives of the project are to promote environmentally sound management (ESM) of plastic waste in Nigeria through initial activities that provide a solid foundation and baseline data for future interventions.

These activities are designed to provide reliable inventory data on local plastic waste generation rate and plastic waste trade (import/export), for the improvement of environmentally sound management and control of cross-border movement of waste. plastics.

Simply put, the project aims to promote environmentally sound management and control of cross-border plastic waste trade in Nigeria through stakeholder inventory and mapping.

The project will also establish a database of local stakeholders involved in the life cycle of plastics management in Nigeria with a view to contributing to effective control of cross-border movements, ESM and tackling sources of plastic waste. .

The project involves the use of a recently developed toolkit called the BRS-Norad Toolkit which is applicable to developing countries such as Nigeria and is based on material flow analysis.

The data to be generated will be quantitative and qualitative and should include information on production, recycling, disposal of plastic waste, sectoral and regional contributions, exports, imports, types of polymers, etc.

“The value of this data for national planning cannot be underestimated,” said Mohammed Abdullahi, Federal Minister for the Environment at the kick-off meeting. He was represented by Ms. Toyin Agbenla, Director at the Ministry.

“The process will also establish a platform to map stakeholders in the plastic waste management sector and foster stakeholder networking.

“This is very commendable, as such a platform will provide a readily available list of national plastic waste actors involved in manufacturing, recycling, regulation, enforcement, academia, collection, disposal, etc. There is no doubt that the resulting networking can trickle down to other positive benefits for the nation,” the Minister added.

He commended BCCC-Africa “for attracting this project and the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS) for awarding this project to Nigeria.”

Why is this project taking place?

Plastic waste management is a global issue. In Nigeria, plastic waste is dumped into sewers and waterways, and onto coastal lands. Plastics are burned in the open air in cities. Legislation on plastic waste is also insufficient. At the heart of these challenges surrounding plastic waste is the lack of inventory data.

Prof. Percy Onianwa, Executive Director of BCCC-Africa, said at the workshop, “We want to generate a national inventory of plastic waste in Nigeria, and also do a stakeholder mapping of people involved in waste management issues. plastic in the country.

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“With regard to the plastic waste inventory, we will estimate the amount of plastic waste generated in the country and the different components and characteristics of plastic waste. What sector does it come from, how much goes to recycling, how much goes to in landfills or is disposed of indiscriminately, what part of the country does it come from, etc.?

“This is very critical because when we want to manage plastic waste which is a global and national problem, we need to clearly understand the nature of the problem and the scale of the problem.

“Thus, the inventory will provide information on this nature and its extent, which will greatly improve planning. We are creating a foundation on which other projects will be built to achieve results that eliminate or minimize this global problem.

“Both aspects of the project are designed to create a reliable database and knowledge base to ensure that larger projects can come about using the initiatives and stakeholder experiences we have already identified.”

Need for cooperation

Professor Onianwa expressed certainty about the sustainability of the project beyond a change of government in the country next year. The project must be completed in one year.

He said: “The data will always be there for technocrats to use; even for people outside the country.

He, however, called for the public’s cooperation as the project progresses. “It is our responsibility to let Nigerians know that this project is happening. There will be many activities and outreach programs through the media.

“What we are advocating is that people will support the work by providing data and supporting our agents who go out to collect data.

“Then those who work with plastic waste should be on the platform for stakeholder mapping.”

“We would like them to cooperate and send data to help us build a strong database of stakeholders in plastic waste issues.”

How far the project has progressed

Professor Onianwa said the project is currently in its early stages. “We understood the tool we will use for stakeholder mapping. We have deployed consultants to start the first stages of stakeholder mapping.

“What we’re doing here today is what we call the launch workshop. We let stakeholders know that we have this project we’re starting, and then we ask for their buy-in and feedback. We make them understand the nature of the toolkit and the way we designed the project, and then we ask them to give us their feedback.

“We have seen some interesting discussions taking place here today with the aim of helping us improve our project results and ensuring that we achieve good results.”

Onianwa, professor of chemistry at the University of Ibadan, noted that “we can tackle plastic waste better if we are coordinated in our approach and everyone is on board.” This, he said, is the essence of stakeholder mapping.

How serious is plastic pollution?

Over 400 different chemicals are currently used as additives to base polymers in the manufacture of plastics. Most of them are poisonous to humans

No less than 80% of marine litter is made up of plastic waste

On January 1, 2021, the Plastic Waste Amendment of the Basel Convention entered into force. The amendment subjects a large number of groups/types of plastics to strict control with regard to cross-border movement

During its fifth session in Nairobi on March 2, 2022, the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) decided to start negotiations on a global agreement to end plastic pollution.

Every minute, the equivalent of a plastic garbage truck is dumped into the oceans, according to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

Plastic production has grown from 2 million tons in 1950 to 348 million tons in 2017, becoming a global industry valued at $522.6 billion, and its capacity is expected to double by 2040, according to the Pew Research report. Center.

Statistics cited by UNEP indicate that around 7 billion of the 9.2 billion tonnes of plastic produced from 1950 to 2017 became plastic waste, ending up in landfills or discarded.

No wonder that in 2018, the theme for World Environment Day is “Beating Plastic Pollution”.

The campaign called for swift action to drastically reduce single-use plastic consumer products.

A plastic bottle takes 450 years to decompose, according to an estimate by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). A plastic cup and a disposable baby diaper also take 450 years to decompose. A nylon bag takes 20 years.

Compare that to six weeks for a newspaper or two to five weeks for a banana peel.

“Once in the water, the plastic never fully biodegrades, but breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, eventually being dubbed a ‘microplastic’ – something less than 5mm long that can still cause harm to marine life,” NOAA added.

Bryce K. Locke