By Joshua Egbodo Abuja–
House of Representatives has asked for an urgent move to ban single-use plastic bags for the use of biodegradable or fabric materials in the country.
To this end, it has mandated its joint committee on Environment and Habitat, and Climate Change to interface with the Federal Ministry of Environment to regulate the manufacture, arbitrary use and disposal of single-use plastic bags, and effectively direct waste recycling, and report back within six (6) weeks.
This was sequel to a motion sponsored by Hon. Sergius Ose Ogun, expressing concerns that the uncontrolled use of plastic materials and the arbitrary disposal of plastic waste, particularly shopping bags, present imminent danger to the people and the environment.
“Those non-degradable materials that litter the country stay for decades without decaying and they eventually become a crucial cause of obstructed drainage and water channels that have precipitated flooding in some flood prone areas, thereby endangering the ecosystem and contaminating agricultural soil,” he said.
He estimated that “50 billion plastic bags are used annually and that they account for a staggering 20 per cent of municipal solid waste in the country, adding that the plastic bags find their way into the marine environment and are ingested by marine animals, thereby choking them.
” The lawmaker said there were health risks posed by their disposal “because most are burnt, thus releasing harmful toxic gases such as methane and carbon dioxide into the air, increasing the level of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), pointing out that several African countries like Kenya, Rwanda, Cameroon, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Mauritania and Malawi have adopted measures to reduce the production and use of plastic bags.
” The motion which enjoyed wide supporting debate was later unanimously adopted by the House