The Nigerian Senate has called for an increase in tax payable on plastic bags and bottles to discourage their use.
It also called for the introduction of eco-friendly reusable bags.
The call came after the lawmakers deliberated a motion on the 2018 World Environmental Day sponsored by Rose Oko (PDP, Cross River North) and nine other senators.
World Environmental Day is celebrated all over the world on June 5, annually. It is a day set aside to create awareness for environmental issues as well as proffer possible means of protecting the environment.
The theme of this year’s celebration is ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’, a pointer to the need to cut down on the use of plastic bags and bottles and combat the problems caused by plastic pollution.
Leading the debate, Mrs Oko expressed concern over Nigeria’s excessive reliance on single use bags and disposable plastic which is visible in the use of polythene bags, plastic cups, sandwich wraps, disposable plates and spoons, straws etc.
“Annually, tonnes of plastic bags end up in our drainages, water bodies and oceans. This leads to flooding, pollution of water bodies, destruction of aquatic life which affects human life etc. Even in working systems, the recyclability of these bags is so low that they end up in landfills, as liter and in water bodies,” she said.
While making reference to countries that have successfully banned the use of plastic bags, she urged the federal government to take measures ”like increase in tax payable on single use bags and plastic, payment for these bags, consumer education and retailer take-back programmes in order to reduce waste from plastic pollution”.
She said the lack of adequate sanitary facilities, unattended heaps of refuse packed in some communities and dilapidated building structures have contributed to the outbreak and spread of preventable diseases such as Lassa fever, Cholera, Malaria, among others.
The Senate then resolved to urge the federal government to enact and enforce legislation on adequate waste disposal and recycling system.
It also urged the federal government to also increase funding for environmental issues.