• Thursday, May 30, 2024
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BusinessDay

US, Coca-Cola unveil $4m investment in recycling solutions across Nigeria

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The United States government is partnering with Coca-Cola to launch Nigeria Plastic Solutions Activity (NPSA), a $4 million program aimed at plastic waste management in Nigeria through innovative recycling solutions.

The primary objective of the NPSA is to “recover about 49,000 metric tons of plastic waste in Nigeria while upscaling the collection capacity of over 24 aggregators and 9,500 collectors.”

The program is equally funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) alongside the Coca-Cola Foundation and implemented by TechnoServe, a non-profit based in the U.S.

Speaking at the launch on Wednesday, Will Stevens, the U.S. Consul General to Nigeria emphasised the importance of recycling to climate sustainability.

“By incentivizing recycling as a means of averting plastic pollution, we protect the planet, create jobs, empower youth and other marginalized groups, and foster sustainable development,” he said.

USAID and the Coca-Cola Foundation promise to create over 10,000 jobs through the NPSA program to drive circularity further and promote a healthier environment.

“In addition to improving the environment, plastic collection, sorting, aggregating, processing and manufacturing offers employment opportunities,” said Melissa Jones, director of USAID Nigeria Mission. “Small and medium scale enterprises and entry-level and semi-skilled workers particularly stand to benefit from this new value chain.”

Plastic waste in NIgeria

Nigeria generates about 2.5 million tonnes of plastic waste annually, ranking ninth globally among countries with the highest contributions to plastic pollution.

Over 88 percent of the plastic waste is not recycled and much of it ends up in the country’s water bodies.

Tokyo Wahab, commissioner of the Lagos State Ministry of Environment and Water Resources called for urgency in addressing this situation stating, “Our policy and advocacy efforts present a paradigm shift on plastic waste. We can no longer view it as a disposable commodity; rather, it must be regarded as resource demanding responsible stewardship. We cannot shy away from this responsibility; we must confront it head-on with resolve and determination.”

In 2019, Nigerian lawmakers considered a bill in 2019 to prohibit the use of plastic bags to cut down on plastic waste.

Still, the bill remains in limbo, as it is yet to undergo further reading.

“We hope this new program in Nigeria serves as a catalyst to drive increased collection and recycling rates as we collectively work towards a more sustainable society, one community at a time,” said Saadia Madsbjerg, president of The Coca-Cola Foundation.

We must persist in collaborating, innovating, and implementing solutions to address this urgent issue. Together, we can build a future where plastics are no longer a threat to our planet but a valuable resource managed responsibly and utilized for the benefit of future generations,” Stevens said.