Nigeria is yet to take action against single-use plastic bags

single-use plastic bags

Nigeria is yet to take action against single-use plastic bags

If you wander through the streets of Nigeria, you will notice a recurring sight at every turn; single-use plastic bags also known as “nylon,” which can be found in every nook and cranny.

Single-use plastic bags are widely utilized in Nigeria, with manufacturers, wholesalers, and petty traders using them to package everything from water to food and other necessities. As a result, the amount of single-use plastic bags produced by an average household each day is enormous.

In Nigeria, single-use plastic bag waste accounts for more than 20% of urban solid waste. As a result of improper waste disposal, these plastic bags eventually end up in the environment.
The garbage disposal culture in Nigeria is particularly poor.

Most of these single-use plastic bags, single-carrier bags, and other disposable products are discarded on the streets where they are carried to gutters and waterways by wind and rain. Citizens are accustomed to this type of indiscriminate disposal.

Nigeria considered prohibiting the use of plastic bags, sachets, and single-use bags in 2013. The prohibition was supposed to go into effect in January of 2014. Paper bags were going to be reintroduced to replace the single-use bags.

Single-use plastic bags, which are used on a daily basis, are reported to take more than 10,000 years to degrade. The sad thing is that despite the dangers that plastic bags bring to Nigeria’s future, little to no action has been taken to address the issue.

The house of representatives passed a law two years ago to ban single-use plastic bags in the country after the previous ban failed owing to a lack of efficient implementation. Offenders who offer plastic bags instead of paper bags faced a fine of N500,000 or a three-year prison sentence, according to the bill.

A quick question: from when the bill was signed till now, how effective has the implementation been? To date, businesses and market vendors utilize plastic bags for packing in every market across the country. Customers demand that their things be packaged in single-use plastic bags. It’s even been used to package sachet water called “pure water.”

It is the most often used packing material in Nigeria. Despite the fact that the ban is written, it is not enforced. Plastic bags not only add to environmental pollution which harms humans and animals, and marine life.

While many environmental activists are raising awareness about the risks of single-use plastic bags, the government must double down in enforcing this ban.

Kenya, Cameroon, Rwanda, South Africa, and a few other African countries have successfully prohibited the use of plastic bags, demonstrating that it is doable.

If these countries can do it, Nigeria, the giant of Africa, should take a cue from them. The production and distribution of single-use plastic bags are openly carried out throughout the country.

Unfortunately, the cost of these plastic bags is rising, and merchants are grumbling, yet there is no provision for cheaper packaging solutions.

Corruption is one of the main reasons why this ban has not been strongly enforced. If there is to be a prohibition, it should begin with the manufacturers. If Nigeria does not take the required efforts to combat single-use plastic bags, future generations will suffer the consequences.

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