AHEAD of the World Environment Day celebration built for June 5 this year, the Director of the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Studies at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Professor Emmanuel Ofoezie, has said there is need for the relevant Nigerian authorities to formulate appropriate policy on the management of plastic waste in oceans, even as he noted that there was insufficient research into the subject in Nigeria and Africa.
Already, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has alerted that there will be more plastic objects in the oceans than fish by 2050, going by the current rate of disposal of plastic into the ocean.
Professor Ofoezie said that stakeholders in the environment industry including researchers have not paid due diligence to the “emerging issue” of plastic waste in the environment.
“This is an emerging issue that began in Europe. It was the Europeans that alerted the world that plastic used everywhere ends up in the sea; that is not strange because we know that the seas are the sink where everything ends up. But nobody knew that it was at that alarming level. There have not been any studies known to me about African water systems on the subject because it is an emerging issue. This year’s world environment day is about plastics and plastic contamination of the environment and what should be done,” the director said.
He added that his institute’s “annual conference this year will centre on the issue of plastic waste.”
Professor Ofoezie decried the poor attitude of Nigerians towards the proper disposal and recycling of plastic waste, compared to Western countries and the lack of government regulations in this wise.
“In Nigeria, we haven’t gone as far as we should. People throw away plastic bags and plastic water bottles as they are part of our ecosystem,” adding that “because we have not had any concerted policy on it, individuals are left to take their decisions. But I am sure that after this year, plastics will be the focus of environmental planners in Nigeria.”
He expressed hope that the theme of this year’s Environment Day would spur local research on plastic waste in oceans. “We in ecology are hoping that now that UNEP is focusing on it, we will all begin to lay focus on it as well by way of local research and student research to see the level to which plastic is constituting a threat to our environment.”
The post Plastic in oceans: Appropriate policy, research lacking in Nigeria —Director, Institute of Ecology and Environmental Studies appeared first on Tribune.