How proper waste disposal, recycling enhances wildlife sustainability

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Alhaji Ibrahim Goni, the Conservator-General, National Park Service, says proper waste disposal and recycling will enhance wildlife sustainability leading to healthy environment.

Goni said this in Abuja on the backdrop of Global Recycling Day celebrated March 18 annually.

Global Recycling Day was launched in October 2018 to change the mind-set of governments, businesses, communities and individuals around the world to see recyclables as resource and not waste.

The theme for the 2019 Global Recycling Day is “Recycling into the Future”.

He said that if wastes were disposed of, or recycled properly, the effects of environmental challenges faced by humans and plants would be drastically reduced.

He said that Nigeria as a signatory to numerous global treaties and conventions for the sustainability and management of the environment and biodiversity, there was the need to align with the treaties’ principles.

“The SDG 3 (on good health), 6 (clean water and sanitation), 11 (sustainable cities and communities) 13 (climate action) and 14 (life below water) all directly deal with the effect of practices on our communities’ sustainability.

“So the use of plastics and its effect on wildlife sustainability and species diversity runs against some of these treaties.’’

“Some of the treaties include the Paris Climate Convention, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) and Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).

“Most of the conventions involved the interdiction of practices that cause harm to the environment or specific species under threat.’’

Plastic threat

According to him, ‘New York Times’ reported that a dead Whale was found with 88 pounds of plastic inside its body in the Philippines.

“When wastes are not properly disposed of, floods will carry the debris into drainages and some, onward to the rivers.

“These drainage blockages will lead to outbreak of diseases; the bags become habitable grounds for disease-spreading vectors such as mosquitoes and flies, resulting in the spread of malaria, cholera and diarrhea.

“Some plastics are washed into aquatic systems which affect the sites and potential of breeding of fishes and other aquatic animals.

“Some of the fish species ingest the plastics which ultimately get transferred into the food-chain of humans, with negative consequences on our health.’’

Goni said that waste if properly harnessed, it would generate wealth to the economy and as well give room for a healthy environment.

“Recyclables are resources that can be used over and over again so that we do not exhaust our natural resources.

“Recycling transforms plastics, metals, paper, glass and other such scrap commodities into new materials, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“It also saves energy through reduced consumption, while providing valuable feedstock in the manufacturing process,’’ he added.

He said that the Federal Government had in 2012 under the Waste to Wealth Initiative inaugurated about 26 multipurpose recycling plants which should be supported by all.

“The initiative is to ensure the recycling of plastic materials for industrial use toward generating income for government and creating employment opportunities.

“So I encourage every Nigerian to make proper use of waste bins and dump sites so that the wastes will get to the final disposal sites where they will be recycled to generate wealth,” he advised.