Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre joins environmentalists all over the world to celebrate the World Environment Day 2023. The year’s theme #BeatPlasticPollution: Solutions to Plastic Pollution, is a reminder that people’s actions on plastic pollution matter. It is time to accelerate actions to address plastic pollution and transition to a circular economy. It is time to #BeatPlasticPollution.
While solutions to plastic pollution must engage every sector, the government and local authorities need to drive the change, formulate policies to reduce the production of harmful and unnecessary plastics, incentivize sustainable business practices and invest in better waste management infrastructure. In order to transition enterprises and sectors away from the manufacturing of harmful plastics and toward circular economies on plastics, investors have to play critical roles in raising funds and establishing standards. Non-Governmental Organizations, faith-based organizations, and community groups are potent agents of change in society. We can all influence change by speaking out against plastic pollution and taking actions.
When plastic is dumped in the environment and interacts with water, very dangerous chemicals are formed. The chemicals affect the quality of underground water. The wind carries and deposits plastic from one place to another, increasing the land litter. When plastics are used, recycled, or disposed of, or left in the environment as litter, they break down and release harmful chemicals. The pollutants are heavy metals and chemicals such as lead, benzene among others that release harmful toxins into our air, water, and bodies.
The plastic we use can harm people and the environment. The things that make plastic so attractive are the same things that make it so harmful to people’s health and the environment. Everything made of plastic starts with a resin made from petroleum that is combined with chemicals and usually not tested for safety. Plastic items such as bottles, toys, to-go containers, medical supplies, car bumpers, foam, and more affect our environment and our bodies. Some of the chemicals used to soften plastics and to carry fragrance in many everyday products, are linked to birth defects and are harmful to the reproductive system. Plastic pollution reduces ecosystems' ability to adapt to climate change. It affects livelihoods, food production capabilities and social well-being.
The organizations represented here use this opportunity of the World Environment Day to say:
Use paper or cloth bags instead of plastic bags.
Reuse plastic bags for many times to reduce consumption.
Reduce the use of plastic-wrapped products.
Mothers should not use plastic bottles for feeding their babies.
Do not buy plastic toys which children can chew and replace them with toys made of natural materials.
Do not buy or use plastic cups, plates, or spoons, especially the disposable single-use ones.
Choose the product that can be reused or recycled.
Do not take more plastic bags than you need when shopping.
n case you buy a product in a plastic can or bottle, reuse it for other purposes instead of disposal
Avoid using plastic cups made of rigid polystyrene in drinking tea, coffee, and other hot drinks. Use paper or glass cups instead.
Kebetkache particularly calls on the new administration at all levels in Nigeria to prioritize environmental sanitation in public policy and development interventions. We also call on government to mitigate the climate crisis by implementing sustainable solutions to the environmental problems in Nigeria, especially in the Niger Delta where the impact of fossil fuel extraction has impacted negatively on the people and their environment. It specifically calls on Governments of all States in the Niger Delta to show accountability in the utilization of the 13% Derivation Fund and to prioritize recycling of waste, as critical investments that advances the rights of Niger Delta people and communities, especially women, children, and the elderly. It also calls on the National Assembly, Relevant Ministries and Regulatory Agencies to hold all international and local oil companies in Nigeria to account for all acts of environmental pollution that foster ecosystem destruction in the Niger Delta.