By Mmaduabuchi Onwumelu
As the world set to celebrate the World Environment Day (WED) the Commissioner for Environment Anambra State, Engr. Dr Felix Odimegwu has called on Ndi Anambra to join hands with the state government to secure and save the environment from further degradation and devastation.
He said that would be achieved through recovery and recycling of plastic waste, even as he urged to join the nearest local council near to them for this great plastic recovery challenge.
Engr Odimegwu who stated this in his office in Awka while addressing the new on the forthcoming World Environment Day Celebration said that it was an international day for creating Environmental awareness and sensitisation, noting that The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) set aside 5th June every year to direct positive actions towards the environment.
The Environment Commissioner said that there would be cash reward of one million naira for the best performing Community at the end of challenge.
According to him, the Theme for this year’s World Environment Day 2023 is: Solution to plastic pollution with the hashtag #BeatPlasticPollution
His words, ‘It is the largest global platform for environmental public outreach and is celebrated by millions of people across the world
‘World Environment day which started in 1974 with over 143 countries participating encourages worldwide awareness and action for the protection of the environment.
‘On this day, NGOs, Governments, communities, Environmental enthusiasts, charity organizations come together to raise awareness on Environmental issues.
He stated that
Plastic pollution had become one of the most pressing environmental issues, as rapidly increasing production of plastic products overwhelmed the world’s ability to deal with the waste it produced, emphasizing that plastic pollution had transgressed into a crisis not just in Anambra state but globally which he said, required both immediate and sustained attention and action.
‘The world generates over 300 million tonnes of plastic waste a year, more than 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the oceans every year as a result of indiscrimate dumping. It takes over 400 years for plastics to decompose while only 8% of the plastics are being recycled. Hence, the remainder pose huge problems to our environment causing nuisance and pollution everywhere.
‘Plastic pollution has detrimental impacts on marine life and the health of ecosystems (marine animals ingests plastic waste or microplastics, human inturn eats marine animals). It causes environmental degradation which in turn leads to economic losses for communities and industries. Exposure to plastics especially when used in microwaving food can endanger human health, affecting fertility, metabolism, neurology etc,’ he said
He continued, ‘In a bid to actualize the vision of the Executive Governor of Anambra state Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo in maintaining a clean, green and sustainable Environment, Anambra state ministry of Environment in collaboration with Anambra State Waste Recyclers Association is set to hold the maiden edition of All Anambra Community Plastic Waste Recovery Challenge . This Challenge is scheduled to kick off on the 8th of June (World Environment Day)
‘With The All Anambra plastic waste recovery challenge, the theme of this years world environment day which focuses on SOLUTION TO PLASTIC POLLUTION will be actualised as we #BeatPlasticPollution.
‘This is A Holistic approach to solution to plastic pollution as the state moves with clear vision towards a circular economy where plastics stay in use for as long as possible. In circular economy, we try to ensure that most plastic products automatically begins a new life at the end of its original life.
‘To achieve plastic free Anambra we need to practise the 5rs in waste management/ principles of circular economy which is : Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle
‘We hope to rid the state off 10,000 tons of plastic stuck in our street, homes, drainages and water ways via this project.
‘This challenge is open to all Anambrarians, NGOs, business owners, ASATU (women, men and youth wing), Environmental enthusiast, stakeholders and we request the participation of everyone in this project.
‘There will be great rewards for winners in the all categories.
‘The plastic recovery challenge will span across 179 communities in the the 21 local government area in the state.
‘Join the nearest local council near you for this great plastic recovery challenge. Solution is HERE.
‘Plastics production releases more GHGs emissions, thereby intensifying Climate crisis
‘WAY FORWARD: SOLUTIONS TO PLASTIC POLLUTION
~Get used to not using disposable plastics. Plastic wraps, grocery bags, straws, disposable cutlery, coffee cup should be made in such a way as to be re-used over and over again.
-Incineration: Over 60 percent of used or wasted plastic medical equipment should be incinerated under very controlled hygienic conditions rather than dumped in a landfill. This is to reduce the transmission of infections, and significantly decrease the quantity of plastic waste from medical facilities.
‘Avoid single use plastic bottles and practice carrying a re-usable bottle to drink water and other beverages.
‘Collection of plastics: This is done to limit the scattering of plastic waste in the environment. Once collected, the plastic wastes are taken to the factory as raw materials for recycling.
‘Re-use of plastic waste: Individuals can enhance this by keeping safe the plastic bags they use at one time for reusing
‘Participation in road, drainage clean ups
‘Pick one single-use plastic and stick to using it
‘Prioritize second hand/already made items: before making a new purchase,’ he concluded.