By Okunade Adekunle
A Lagos based Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) with focus on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Blossom Africa Initiative has canvassed for a total ban of plastic use in Lagos as a solution to plastic pollution and its effect on the environment.
Blossom Africa Initiative, who in line with the theme of this year World Environment Day, “Beat Plastic Pollution”, today took the campaign to reduce plastic waste to shopping malls in Lagos.The organisation in their branded T-shirt stormed ikeja shopping mall educating consumers about the need to reduce plastic waste which they said is harming our environment, distributing flyers to everyone on site.
The NGO which joined the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), to celebrate the world environment day. said it’s all out to create awareness about the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the role everyone had to play in the actualization.
Speaking with journalists after the exercise, the President of the Organisation,Mr Temitope Musowo said the exercise was important to send signal to stakeholders that campaign about protection of our environment should not be a once- in- a -year affair.
“Every year, we come together to celebrate World Environment Day and after the usual noise about protection the environment it all ends there,we go back to business as usual,people still continue polluting our environment, this should not be a one off campaign,it should be a continuous exercise until people get the message.
“Do you you know how much harm plastic pollution is doing to our environment and marine life, if I have my way I will push for outright ban of plastic use in Lagos in particular ,especially single use plastic,and this is why I said that,for instance, Lagos generate 16,000 metric tones of waste on daily basis,which means Lagos generate 1600 metric tones of plastic waste daily because findings have shown that 10% of waste we generate is plastic”, he said.
Musowo further condemned what he described as single-use plastic which he said form 50% of the plastic we use,saying it takes an average of 500 years for plastic to decompose while we use our plastic bags for just an average of 12 minutes.
According to the President, one of the reasons we experience perennial flooding in Lagos is because of metric tones of plastic waste that find their ways into the sewage system and providing breathing space for Mosquitoes, raising the risk of malaria transmission.
“Do you know that every year, the world use 500 billion plastic bags,about 13 million tones of plastic leak into the ocean,do you know every year ,17 million barrels of oil is used to produce plastic bottle for our water and if we continue like this by year 2050,there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s ocean,” he maintained.
He called on everyone to be part of the solution to plastic pollution by refusing what they cannot reuse, switching from single-use plastic to biodegradable products and improve waste collection through sorting,recycling and reprocessing while making environmental friendly choices.
Speaking further on the vision of the organisation, the President said, “We observed that one of the reasons no African country was able achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was because of the low level of awareness among the populace,now we have another opportunity with the SDGs again,if you sample the opinion of people on the street you will discover many people are not even aware meanwhile, we all have a role to play the fulfilment.”
“This need to champion the awareness campaign and advocacy gave birth to Blossom Africa Initiative,as you can see this is just one of our campaign as it has to do with Goal 7,13,14 and 15 ,talking about our environment now,subsequently, we are taking the SDGs campaign to schools to get the children involved for sustainable sake”, he reiterated.