NIGERIA: the FEC approves a new law on plastic waste management

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NIGERIA: the FEC approves a new law on plastic waste management©moxumbic/Shutterstock

In Nigeria, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has just validated a new policy to improve plastic waste management. This strategy is validated, just three months after the approval of a law on solid waste management in this West African country.

A law on plastic waste will soon come into force in Nigeria. The new legislation was recently approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC). Initiated by the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Environment, this national policy aims at improving plastic waste management in the most populous country on the African continent.

Among other things, the new legislation should encourage the development of a circular economy around plastic waste. “In the past, the standard procedure was to produce, use and dispose of it. We can’t continue to do that, knowing that plastics are very suitable for recycling or reuse. Plastic can be recycled to produce blocks, new plastics or pallets for lock production,” says Muhammad Mahmood, Nigeria’s Federal Minister of the Environment.

Nigeria generates some 32 million tonnes of waste per year, including about 200,000 tonnes of plastic waste according to a 2018 report by the World Economic Forum. The country’s disposal, recycling and waste management system is very inefficient, dealing with both plastic and non-plastic waste, most of which (70%) ends up in landfills, sewers, beaches and water bodies. In an effort to improve plastic waste recycling in this case, the Nigerian Ministry of Environment has already built plastic recycling plants throughout the country, says Muhammad Mahmood. The official adds that these facilities will serve as a pilot project after the new regulations come into force.

Nigeria’s plastic waste law is also expected to bolster financial institutions that already support many recycling projects in the country. This is the case of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) which granted (in September 2020) a loan of US$39 million to Engee PET Manufacturing Company Nigeria for the construction of a continuous polymerisation PET resin plant in Ogun State, in south-western Nigeria. The facility, which is expected to be fully operational within 2 years, will draw more than 20% of its raw material from local plastic waste, thus helping to structure the recycling industry in Nigeria.

Inès Magoum

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