Plastic waste has become an increasing environmental menace and to address the situation, the private sector and the government need to collaborate on finding innovative ways to minimise plastic pollution and protect the environment. This was the conclusion at the CEO Roundtable on Sustainability organised by the LBS Sustainability Centre in partnership with Guinness Nigeria and Nestle Nigeria.
Held on September 13, 2019, at The George Hotel, Ikoyi, the Roundtable saw a gathering of representatives of government agencies, multinationals, academics and other stakeholders in sustainability. Themed ‘Plastic Waste Mitigation in Nigeria: Efforts, Achievements and Prospects’, the Roundtable explored ideas, actions and frameworks to address plastic pollution in Nigeria.
In his welcome address, Director, LBS Sustainability Centre, Professor Chris Ogbechie said, “The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) present a unique opportunity for businesses to make an unprecedented socio-economic impact on the society, as well as deliver value and profit to stakeholders and shareholders. Thus, the essence of this Roundtable is to spur innovative thinking and creative ideas that will drive systemic and sustainable business solutions to the challenge of plastic waste management in Nigeria”.
According to a non-profit organisation, Plastic Oceans Foundation, every year, 300 million tonnes of plastic is produced globally, and half of that is used for the production of disposable items. Although this is a global problem, the Roundtable was an opportunity to narrow down mitigation efforts for our immediate community, Nigeria.
With its vast population, Lagos state generates about 148,000 metric tonnes of plastic waste annually, the highest in the country, and its harmful effects are telling on the environment. At the Roundtable, however, several intervention strategies were raised in not only reducing the amount of plastic waste but also generating value out of the waste.
Chair, Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance (FBRA), Folashade Morgan, guest speaker at the Roundtable shared some of the efforts of the Alliance in mitigating the effects of plastic waste. Morgan said, “We plan to set up aggregation hubs across Nigeria using Lagos as a pilot, and we are committing significant resources to waste collection through these hubs. We project that we will be able to collect 6,000 tonnes of waste annually from one mega-hub and based on the infrastructure we plan to develop, we will recycle 3,600 tonnes.”
At the panel session, Managing Director, Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), Dr Muyiwa Gbadegesin commented on the efforts of the agency and the state, “There are so many unknown potentials for waste materials and part of our advocacy is to convince people that waste has value. We have built a resource centre, situated on a dumpsite, and purposed to train young people who are interested in the recycling business. With this, we intend to build a brand new economy”.
Stakeholders at the Roundtable concluded that Nigeria is in a crisis and a way out is to encourage reuse and recycling of plastic by generating awareness, starting from the grassroots.
The LBS Sustainability Centre supports business and organisations in mainstreaming, integrating and assessing their sustainability strategies and initiatives, based on cutting-edge sustainability thinking and Centre-led research findings.