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Nigeria plastic solutions initiative will create 10,000 jobs — USAID

Melissa Jones, Mission Director, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Nigeria has said the newly launched Nigeria Plastic Solutions Initiative will create 10,000 jobs and generate $4.8 million in income.

Jones made this known in her remarks at the launch of the Nigeria Plastic Solutions Activity, an initiative equally funded by USAID and the Coca-Cola Foundation, on Monday, in Lagos.

The launch had the theme, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Building a Sustainable Future.”

The Nigeria Plastic Solutions Activity is a 24-month initiative being implemented by TechnoServe Nigeria, in collaboration with its partner, the Growing Businesses Foundation (GBF).

This initiative seeks to tackle the critical challenge of plastic waste management in Nigeria through innovative recycling solutions.

Jones said the goal of the activity was to recycle 49,000 metric tons of plastic waste produced in Lagos and Anambra states over the next two years.

She added that by recycling plastics, the environment was safeguarded and pathways to economic empowerment for underemployed Nigerians unlocked.

According to her, Nigeria is the ninth highest contributor to plastic pollution, with about 2.5 million tonnes of plastic waste annually, over 88 percent of which is not recycled.

The result of this, she said, is excessive plastic pollution, which threatens ecosystems, marine life, and public health.

“It is plastic pollution that clogs our waterways, mars our landscapes, kills thousands of marine animals, and releases toxins into the environment.

“Firstly, plastics recycling reduces the demand for virgin materials, curbing the energy-intensive process of producing new plastics by up to 90 per cent and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 per cent.

“Recycling plastics also reduces the amount of plastic entering the ocean by 80 per cent.

“The 49,000 metric tons of plastics collected and recycled under the Nigeria Plastic Solutions Activity will contribute to efforts to achieve these targets and the overall goal of a more sustainable and circular plastics economy in Nigeria,” she said.

Jones added that asides improving the environment, plastic collection, sorting, aggregating, processing and manufacturing offers employment opportunities.

On her part, Small and medium scale enterprises and entry-level and semi-skilled workers particularly stand to benefit from this new value chain.

“Because barriers to entry in the recycling sector are relatively low, the National Plastic Solutions Activity will be able to employ marginalised groups including women, youth, and people with disabilities.”

She noted that USAID would provide an enabling environment to improve the competitiveness, sustainability, and profitability of numerous collectors, aggregators and recyclers.

On her part, plastics recycling is not just an environmental imperative, it’s a catalyst for sustainable development and economic prosperity.

General Manager, Coca-Cola Nigeria Ltd, Mariam Khan said her company remained committed to creating shared opportunities and making a difference in communities.

She noted that the initiative was not just about cleaning up but also about positively impacting lives and creating jobs.

“This programme is a key illustration of what collaborative efforts can do for the society and the ripple effect of this will be significant,” she said.

In her remarks, Adesuwa Akinboro Country Director, Nigeria, TechnoServe said the activity aims to reduce plastic waste in Lagos and Anambra states by at least 49,000 metric tons, through inclusive, market-driven interventions along the value chain.

According to her, a fundamental aspect of the approach is the emphasis on developing market systems to drive the circular economy.

“We recognise the complexities within the plastic waste recycling value chain and are committed to addressing these challenges through innovative solutions that will enable sustainable practices and create inclusive job opportunities.

“Our collaborative model ensures that we remain accountable and effective in achieving our waste reduction and recycling targets, reinforcing our commitment to environmental stewardship,” she noted.

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Written by Nike

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