By Chinelo Obogo, Lagos
Stakeholders in Nigeria’s manufacturing and waste management sectors have applauded the Nigerian Bottling Company Limited (NBC) for its initiatives aimed at optimising plastic packaging and waste management in the country.
Speaking during the annual NBC Stakeholders Forum themed “Packaging & Waste Management: Key Drivers, Challenges & Solutions”, they commended the company for leading efforts to ensure the eradication of plastic waste in the country.
The keynote speaker and Special Adviser to the Ogun State Government on Environment, Ola Oresanya, applauded NBC for holding the forum which he said will go a long way in entrenching the culture of internal self-regulation in the fight against waste.
‘I want to congratulate NBC for their consideration for the environment. In putting together this forum for open conversations around issues affecting the environment, NBC has demonstrated its commitment towards finding a solution to the issue of waste management in Nigeria. This is commendable because not many manufacturers have this kind of forum where the facts can be laid out,’ he said.
The Special Guest of Honour at the virtual session and Minister of Environment, Mahmood Abubakar, represented by the Director of Pollution Control and Environmental Health, Charles Ikeah, commended the company for being at the forefront of the fight against environmental waste.
Abubakar highlighted the Federal Government’s commitment to awareness creation, enforcement of relevant regulations, as well as provision of an enabling environment for private sector participation.
President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Ahmed Mansur, urged other organisations, particularly in the manufacturing sector, to emulate NBC’s ambitious commitment to rid the environment of plastic wastes and prioritize the lifecycle of their packaging materials in their production processes.
In his remarks, Managing Director of NBC, Matthieu Seguin, said the company will continue to collaborate with key stakeholders in the plastic packaging and waste management value-chain to ensure that challenges in the waste management ecosystem are converted to viable economic opportunities for Nigeria’s teeming population. Seguin, who spoke on the economic significance and reusability of plastic bottles, said: ‘We believe every package has value and life beyond its initial use and that it should be collected and recycled into a new package.’
He further reiterated the company’s recycling sustainability policy thrust saying that ‘as manufacturers that use plastic packaging, we want to be part of the solution. The message here is clear: we want all our pet bottles back. Our goal is that we will recover 100% of our primary packaging and recycle 50% by 2030.’
Commenting on its recycling strategy, Sustainability Director for The Coca-Cola Company Africa, David Drew, said the beverage giant plans to achieve a world without waste by ensuring recyclability of plastic bottles, reduction of plastic in secondary packaging, reduction of weight of bottles and building collection points for proper waste disposal and sorting.
Affirming the Lagos Waste Management Authority’s (LAWMA) contribution to environmental sustenance, the Lagos State Commissioner for Environment, Tunji Bello, represented by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of the Environment, Belinda Aderonke Odeneye commented on the importance of proper and continuous recycling of all recyclable waste as this will save society from filth and diseases.
Odeneye revealed that LAWMA has now moved the waste management war to the schools for inclusion. ‘We have a manual for teachers to train students on how to sort waste in their schools and dispose them properly,’ she said. She also called for collaboration amongst all stakeholders to ensure environmental sustainability is fully achieved in Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole.
In her remarks, Executive Secretary, Food and Beverage Recycle Alliance (FBRA), Agharese Onaghise, extoled the social responsiveness of NBC to societal cause, particularly in the environmental sustainability space and charged all stakeholders to take active part in the battle to mitigate plastic pollution in Nigeria.