World Environment Day: Expert Warns Against Plastic Waste Causing Humanitarian Crisis

By Amos Tauna :

An environmentalist, Dr. Tabi Joda, has observed with dismay the threat of plastic waste growing at an unprecedented scale all over the world.

He lamented that its threat make climate change accelerate exponentially leading to increased ocean salinity, ocean rise and increased risk of floods disasters that could cause human displacements and consequently humanitarian crises.

Speaking as a guest speaker to mark World International Environment Day organized by Women School of Health Science, Kaduna, Green Aid African, Dr. Joda, Executive and global Coordinator of DRR- Non state Network, explained that the threat of plastic waste leads to hunger, diseases, and human suffering as a result of degradation of arable lands.

He explained, With the threat of plastic waste growing at an unprecedented scale, climate change will accelerate exponentially leading to increased ocean salinity; ocean rise; increased risk of floods disasters which could cause human displacements and consequently humanitarian crises.

“Another aftermath is hunger, diseases, and human suffering especially as a result of degradation of arable lands. Human security consequences include vulnerable to violence.

“Recent studies in Nigeria indicate that displaced people in refugee camps became easy recruits into terrorist groups where their desperation is exploited over a few dollars, shelter or a cell phone. As little drops of water make an ocean, our little gestures of improperly dumping plastic waste has direct consequence on each one of us. Now is the time to reverse the trends.”

Dr Joda advised that it was everybody’s responsibility to preserve, protect and sustain the environment for the collective safety and happiness.

He explained that every piece of plastic in the ocean breaks down into segments such that pieces from a single liter of plastic bottle could end up on every beach throughout the world.

He added, “Almost every farmland is partially covered by plastic. Apart from the harmful effects of plastic bags on animals, plants and aquatic life, the toxic chemical from plastic waste are harmful to the human body when absorbed.

“A study has shown that apart from Americans who have up to 93 per cent of people tested positive for BPA (a plastic chemical), level of effect are even higher in other parts of the world especially Africa where recycling and waste management policies and orientations are low or even absent in most places. Other studies have shown that some of these compounds found in plastic have been known to alter human hormones or have other potential risk on human health.

“Alongside the hazardous risks on human health, over one million sea birds and over 100,000 marine mammals are reportedly killed annually from toxins originating from plastic waste in our oceans. 44 per cent of seabird species, 22 per cent of cetaceans, 32 per cent of sea turtle species and a growing list of fish species, crabs and prawns are killed by plastics or have their habitat altered by plastic in or around their bodies.

“Plastics also degrade soil quality leading to low crop productivity and consequently poverty, hunger and food insecurity. This is evident in the polluted land fields and shores stretching from Limbe West Cameroon through Lagos Nigeria, Cotonou in Benin, Lome in Togo and the entire West coast and beyond. Billions of kgs of plastic are visibly swirling over 40 percent of the world’s ocean surfaces

“Plastic waste constitutes approximately 90 percent of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface, with 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile.

“It constitutes 80 per cent of pollution that enters the ocean from the land. In an ariel view of floating mass of plastic debris at the coast of Douala in Cameroun, the size of floating garbage could equal the size of Uganda. Recent researches prove that it takes over 500-1000 years for plastic to degrade.

“Samples collected in Lake Erie, 85 percent of the plastic particles were smaller than two-tenths of an inch, and much of that was microscopic. Researchers found that 1500 and 1.7 million of these particles occupy each square mile. This consequently means that virtually every piece of plastic that was ever made 100 years ago still exists in some shape or form except for those incinerated.”

The organizer of the environment day celebration,  Nurudeen Bello, Director of Womenhood School of Health Science, Kaduna, organizer of WorldEnvirinment Day celebration said the aims was to rise awareness among students and residence in the area along Badarawa and  Anguwan Dosa on the importance of cleaning their environment so as to save their children against all forms of diseases associated with dirty environment.

He explained that cleaning the environment exercise was the reason for organizing endurance trekking with some of the students and residents in the communities to assist them on knowing various ways in helping them in saving the environment.

“We are taking the students out of the street to clean the environment so as to reduce the large number of environmentally unfriendly bacterial and other germs  that are dominating our gutter,” he explained.

Nurudden added, “We tag todays event as street–to-street cleaniliness  with all our medical students so as to contribute our own quota in the fight against environmental diseases and other pollution.“

Research has shown that globally, more than one million plastic bags are used every minute and an average individual throws away approximately 185 kg of plastic waste per year.

An average household dumps about 900kg of plastic waste in a year. Similarly, an approximate 500 billion plastic bags are used and 135 billion plastic water bottles are thrown away every year. Plastic waste accounts for around 10 percent of the total waste generated in households worldwide.


Posted by on 04/06/2018. Filed under Enivironment, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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