The Director of Institute of Ecology and Environmental Studies at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Professor Emmanuel Ofoezie has decried insufficient research in the plastic waste in oceans situations the country is facing as the world prepares to commemorate 2018 World Environmental Day.
He called on relevant authorities to formulate policy on the management of plastic waste in oceans in Nigeria and Arica in general.
“This is an emerging issue that began in Europe. It was the Europeans that alerted the world that plastic used everywhere ends up in the sea; that is not strange because we know that the seas are the sink where everything ends up. But nobody knew that it was at that alarming level. There have not been any studies known to me about African water systems on the subject because it is an emerging issue. This year’s world environment day is about plastics and plastic contamination of the environment and what should be done,” he said.
The professor encouraged Nigerians to emulate western countries in the way plastic wastes are disposed and recycled.
“In Nigeria, we haven’t gone as far as we should. People throw away plastic bags and plastic water bottles as they are part of our ecosystem,” adding that “because we have not had any concerted policy on it, individuals are left to take their decisions. But I am sure that after this year, plastics will be the focus of environmental planners in Nigeria.”
“We in ecology are hoping that now that UNEP is focusing on it, we will all begin to lay focus on it as well by way of local research and student research to see the level to which plastic is constituting a threat to our environment,” he concluded.