UNIDO, Japan launch study on how to combat plastic pollution

The Federal Government of Nigeria, in partnership with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Government of Japan, is going to study the availability of sustainable alternatives to plastics, and the viability of innovative packaging and recycling technologies. The study will consider options in the context of market needs in Nigeria and Egypt, the two leading plastic litter-generating countries in Africa.

At the inauguration of the project steering committee, Nigeria’s Minister of Environment, Mohammed Mahmood Abubakar, said, “The plastics industry is very important, as it contributes significantly to the Nigerian economy to the tune of more than three hundred billion Naira annually, and employs thousands of people. However, the misuse of plastics and poor management of waste pose great dangers to health.”

The Federal Minister added, “This study could not have come at a more auspicious time, considering the fact that plastics and associated wastes, particularly micro-plastics and maritime litter, are of grave concern and have been brought to the front burner of national, regional and international discourse. It is against this background that this steering committee is being established to provide guidance and assistance to the study.”

In his goodwill message, Japan’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Kikuta Yutaka, reaffirmed the commitment of the Government of Japan to its pledge at the G20 Osaka Summit in 2019 and to the ideals of the Osaka Blue Ocean Vision.   

“I want to thank the Federal Ministry of Environment and UNIDO for organizing the inauguration of the steering committee for the project, “Study of Available Sustainable Alternative Materials to Plastics and Innovative Packaging and Recycling Technologies”, and also for extending the invitation to us. The outcome of the study will be important in addressing the global concern about plastic waste,” said Yutaka.

In his address, UNIDO Representative to ECOWAS and Regional Director of the Nigeria Regional Office Hub, Jean Bakole, thanked the Japanese government for proving financial support for the study and reaffirmed UNIDO’s commitment towards supporting Nigeria in achieving inclusive and sustainable industrial development.  

“This study aims to carry out an assessment of Nigeria’s infrastructural, human and industrial capabilities for embracing new technologies as alternatives to plastics, thereby saving our environment,” Bakole stated.