THE PLASTIC MENACE: LEADING THE CHANGE
We are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation to do something about it. The world population is living, working, increasingly conglomerating along the coasts, and standing on the front row of the greatest, most unprecedented, plastic waste tide ever faced. Plastic menace is a major issue causing serious environmental/climate change problem around the world which has to be looked into urgently.
Plastic is generally a durable material. Its durability has made the culprit of the problem since it is considered resistant to natural biodegradation processes, i.e. the microbes that break down other substances do not recognize plastic as food, thereby causing delay in it degradation over time.
Plastic pollution is the accumulation of plastic products in the environment that adversely affects wildlife, wildlife habitat, or humans. Plastics that act as pollutants are categorized into micro, meso, or macro debris, based on size. It can afflict land, waterways and oceans. Living organisms, particularly marine animals, can be harmed either by mechanical effects, such as entanglement in plastic objects or problems related to ingestion of plastic waste, or through exposure to chemicals within plastics that interfere with their physiology. Humans are also affected by plastic pollution, such as through disruption of various hormonal mechanisms.
The effects of plastic menace on human’s health cannot be overemphasized: It could prove to be poisonous and carcinogenic, it upsets the food chain, It kills animals and it’s expensive to maintain as it costs millions of naira each year to clean affected areas after exposure.
SOLUTIONS TO SOLVING PLASTIC MENACE
Realistically, the way this problem can be addressed is when individuals and companies around the world agree to implement practices that reduce waste on every level, which are:
Recycle everything: People should be advised to check everything before they put it in the trash, as more and more items are able to be recycled these days. Companies should be encouraged to sell reusable water bottles as a substitute, reducing plastic waste and exposure to leaking bottles.
Get involved: Young people should be encouraged to involve themselves in advocacy and community services channeled towards environmental sustainability. They could speak to lawmakers and get involved with government on any level, encourage development of items, and propose alternatives when applicable.
Government Regulations: The private sector should be encouraged to embrace the establishment of recycling plants to fast-track the retrieval of plastic waste. There should be massive investments in organic alternatives in the packaging of goods. Some incentives should be created to encourage companies packaging their products with organic materials while those packaging with plastic should be sanctioned and encouraged to go green.
Sensitization of Business Owners: Business owners should be educated on the proper disposal methods and options that they can switch to for packaging, storing, and bagging items.
With the aforementioned points, the SDG 13 of the United Nation can be achieved and at the same time put an end to the plastic menace.
The writer, AKINJISE DANIEL, is the founder of TAD INITIATIVE
It is a youth-led initiative that serves as an online sensitization hub for issues relating to environmental sustainability, climate change and youth empowerment. Our aim is to ensure that young people are fully aware of environmental issues, the effects of climate change and how to involve themselves into putting a solution to it in order to avoid health problems.
We put our environmental graphics and related articles to people through the use of our website, blog and most importantly social media platforms. We understand that a lot of youths in Nigeria are very much involved in the use of social media platform and one of the ways to reach them is by bringing the information to them through the platforms that they are usually engaged with. We engage in environmental community services which includes cleanup programs in our local community and tertiary institution campuses within our locality, as we believe that we should not leave the world messed up for the future generation.