The Federal Ministry of Environment in Nigeria has declared its intention to phase out single-use plastics (SUP) from its headquarters and affiliated institutions. This move is part of the ministry's commitment to the circular economy, as evidenced by the formation of a dedicated Circular Economy Committee.
This committee's mandate is to execute the national roadmap for a circular economy, which aligns with Nigeria's long-term vision for sustainable and inclusive green growth by the year 2050.
A report sponsored by the World Bank indicates that Nigeria is the only producer of plastics in the West African coastal region, with an annual production rate of 498,000 tons in 2019. Despite being a major producer of oil in Africa, the country depends on imports to satisfy approximately 66% of its polymer needs, making it the largest plastic importer on the continent.
The same report notes that Nigeria's plastic waste management is challenged by a recycling rate below 12% for the approximately 3.5 million tons of waste generated, despite having eight operational recycling plants and 18 more in different stages of construction. Furthermore, three of the world's 20 most polluted rivers with plastic waste are located in Nigeria.
In a global effort to combat plastic pollution, Lagos State, Nigeria's most populous city, is poised to implement a ban on polystyrene foam plastics and SUP starting January 2024.
The Federal Ministry of Environment's initiative represents a substantial advance in Nigeria's environmental sustainability efforts.