Beating plastic pollution is the theme for this year’s World Environment Day, Earth Day and several other events, which is absolutely fantastic and good. The reality of the danger of plastic pollution has finally emerged and it has eaten into the public consciousness and we are now starting to react. It is fantastic and here in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Environment has started a whole program of dealing with plastic. They are going to set up collection centres all over the place and sensitize people about how to dispose their plastics. Hopefully, there are going to be some laws outrightly banning certain types of plastics.
In addition, we at LUFASI, are promoting this wonderful phrase, “If you can’t reuse it, refuse it!” What are we talking about? We are talking about plastics like straws, cups and particularly plastics like those thin polyvinyl bags. They are really dangerous because they are difficult to recycle and inadvertently end up in the ocean and cause all sorts of havoc to marine life in the ocean.
So, this is yet another prick on the conscience of humanity as if creating a possibility of catastrophic and unstoppable climate change was not bad enough. As if breaking down biodiversity in an unprecedented and massive way, driving very viable flagship species into extinction was not bad enough. Now we have come to the realisation that plastic pollution can cause massive catastrophic damage to us and to the ocean and by default many other living creatures, and eventually come to us.
In this regard, we have one message for Lagosians, Nigerians, Africans and mankind in general. Please evolve before you drive us into extinction! We must evolve and have a far more caring attitude towards this wonderful, beautiful and incredible creation called planet earth – the diamond in the sky, heaven’s poetry to us. The only celestial body that can support life. Let’s keep the cycle going!