FG wants youths to harness opportunities in plastic waste management, says minister

The Federal Government says it was creating an enabling environment for youths to harness the opportunities plastic waste management the country.

Chief Sharon Ikeazor, Minister for State, Ministry of Environment, stated this Abuja, on Friday, at a virtual meeting under the theme: “Youth response to plastic pollution”.

Ikeazor said the theme was very apt as the entire world was being faced with the challenges of sustainable management of plastic waste.

She said the ministry was also committed to ensuring  adequate implementation of environmental programmes and projects, as such it would encourage modern waste management practices the country through the development of a policy on solid waste management.

Such a policy would similarly support the principle of a circular economy, as as harmonise the roles of the various stakeholders.

“The stakeholders, such as private, government, NGOs, and citizenry, for sustainable waste management; will create an enabling environment for youths on waste reduction, sorting at source, reuse, recycling and conversion to through incentives.

“It will also provide the necessary guidance regarding effective waste management options, technologies and best global environmental practices.

“As as, the formulation of a policy on plastic waste management, which addresses the issue of plastic life cycle management and implementation of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programme”, she said.

Ikeazor said that the EPR programme was a framework of action for a collaborative and partnership approach government, business and the larger society toward achieving a zero waste society the near future.

She added that the programme would facilitate waste reduction, making waste a resource, encourage recycling efficiency and effective materials recovery, wealth creation and promotion of green jobs.

“Adequate implementation of the programmes will assist the industry to shift from linear to closed-cycle manufacturing and efficient take-back schemes for remanufacturing and recycling.

“Development of a waste-to-wealth entrepreneurship programme for the empowerment of the most groups, especially youths and women.

“Implementation of a community-based waste management programme that encourages the involvement of local communities modern waste management practices, such as waste sorting, segregation, composting and recycling.

“Revision of our Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to include the waste sector, development of regulations to ensure that our development agenda is not at variance with the carrying capacity of our fragile environment,” she said.

The minister said that youths remained  the future of the country, as such they should be concerned that developmental activities, which met our present needs, did not compromise their ability to meet their future needs.

“There is no doubt my mind that if we all work together as youths, with everyone contributing his or her quota, we will achieve sound management of plastic wastes and our dreams of a plastic pollution-free environment sooner than expected.

“I believe that young people can us turn the tide on plastic pollution. Our wastepreneurs are developing smart and innovative solutions to tackle plastic waste pollution.

“We government, private sectors and development partners, need to invest the youth and support them as they are part of the solution.

“We owe future generations a cleaner, safe future and I am committed to ensuring that their voices are heard and their innovative ideas and solutions to our planetary crises are supported,” she added.

The minister advised youths to get involved strongly in response to plastic pollution challenges and in effective waste management campaigns, as the effort would to educate the public on the negative impact of plastics and other waste pollution in an environment. (NAN)