Some environmental advocates have called on the Federal and State Governments to find alternative and innovative ways of ridding the environment of plastic wastes.
The advocates made the call during a clean-up exercise at the Bonny Cantonment, Victoria Island on Saturday, in Lagos.
The exercise was carried out to commemorate the International Coastal Clean-up Day marked annually on every third Saturday in the month of September.
One of the advocates, Dr Leslie Adogame, Executive Director, Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), called for the ban of single use plastics in the country.
“The government has to take bold steps to ban single use plastics and replace them with alternatives. We can no longer continue to die when we are alive by ingesting microplastics; corporate entities must have a paradigm shift away from plastics. This is not a sustainable way; plastic is not part of our system, because it is injurious to life, health and all life chain of this world, ”.
Also, the founder, Beach Samaritans, an NGO, Ms Adesola Alamutu, urged people to be part of the solution by consciously taking a reusable bag when they go out shopping.
Alamutu said: “One of the things I believe people can do is, when they go shopping and are offered plastic bags, they should refuse.
“The more the people who refuse, the less the plastic bags being used and thrown away. Also, the government needs to do a lot of enlightenment, especially in the major languages to educate people on the need to carry their bags when going out. Government should also ensure people are charged for the plastic bags; that way, people may be discouraged from using it.”
Also, the Founder, Kids Beach Garden, an NGO, Ms Doyinsola Ogunye, said a lot of awareness creation should begin from homes, schools, religious institutions.
Ogunye said people need to be consistent and continue to do things to protect the environment in their own little spaces for as long as possible.
“We have young children and we need to let them know that plastic wastes littered everywhere and in our water ways is not the kind of environment to grow up”.
Also, Mr Omotola Soares, Secretary to the Local Government, Eti-Osa, Imoyi, Obalende Local Community Development Area, urged people to support the government by being responsible.
Soares said that the government had carried out a lot of programmes to ensure the environment was clean.
“The government cannot do it alone; we all need to work together and take responsibility of our environment, because the environment defines who we are”.
In his remarks, the Director, Media and Online Visibility, Humanity Nigeria, an NGO, Mr Akinola Onanuga said the organisation would be carrying out an enlightening programme from November 24 on dangers of plastics.
He said: “We are bringing up the Earth Festival in order to rid the environment of plastics and enlighten people that these plastics can be recycled and made into wealth instead of throwing it away and causing harm”.