The fear of global warming is the biggest global environmental concern at the moment. Amongst other things, climate change causes polar ice caps to melt, dry season to be longer, rainy season to be late in coming, and when it comes to come with serious storms and flooding etc. We aid global warming every time we fly, use a car or when we use electrical appliances.
Cutting our impact on the environment is important. We can do this through the introduction of paper and plastic recycling bins as well as composting and use of Biogas. We may also calculate our carbon footprints. A carbon footprint is a measure of the amount of CO2 emitted in a year. An average person is said to emit 9400kg per year on carbon dioxide.
There is also need to reduce our reliance on and use of plastics. Using plastics means more plastic wastes. Sending these to landfills is a big problem too. Plastics are made from oil, a natural non-renewable product. Plastic is a non-biodegradable substance (which means that it will not decompose) and adds to the problem of the excess amounts of waste which are filling a landfill site; but in Nigeria, we don’t even have a landfill but dumpsites which are much more inferior.
For example; the amount of municipal trash collected in England in 2006/2007, the last period for which full figures are available, rose by 1.4 per cent; seven times more than the average so far this century, and to 28.7 million tons. Yet household rubbish makes up less than 330million tons of wastes being produced in Britain each year, and is dwarfed by the detritus from construction and demolition, mining, industry and commerce.
There is enormous need to recycle instead of sending wastes to landfill sites because landfill sites are almost full too. Example; paper recycling stops trees that have carbon ‘locked up in them’ being cut down. When a tree is cut down and with the availability of oxygen, it forms carbon dioxide, a green house gas- which is one of the contributors to climate change.
There is need to institute Green Flag Award for Nigerian Schools; Government Institutions and Companies. By this, every participating organization would be rated and measured on a green flag status. The green flag award as an accolade would therefore be awarded to sustainable organizations which have tried to reduce their negative impact upon the earth.
Do you know that used oil is any waste lubricant oil e.g. lubricant fluids that are placed in engines, gearboxes and hydraulic systems of machines e.g. cars and generators? Used lubricant oil is hazardous because it contains toxic compounds and harmful metallic dust particles that can be very dangerous to health. Spilled oil decomposes very slowly and remains in the environment for a long period, polluting the soil and water.
Recycling used motor oil keeps it out of rivers, lakes, streams and groundwater. In many cases, that also means keeping it out of our drinking water, off our beaches and away from wildlife. We all share the responsibility of protecting our environment and keeping our water safe. Recycling used oil allows us to continue to enjoy what many of us take for granted every day - clean water. If you recycle a liter of used oil, you can generate enough electricity to run the average household for almost 24hours. One liter of used oil can pollute a million liters of water.
There is need to scrap plastic bags and replace them with cotton alternatives in order to save the environment and encourage everybody to “go green”. You can make your neighborhood or village a plastic bag-free community. Cotton and Jute bags should be strategically re-introduced in our society. Doing so would help to reduce the number of plastic bags in circulation and support the environmental campaign whilst cutting costs. The plastic bags blow all over the place, even into fields where they can do a lot of damage to wildlife and livestock. It is time we cleaned up. It would be nice to see our city become “Plastic bag free”.
There is need to raise a campaign to highlight how environmentally unfriendly, problematic and –not least – how irritating the phenomenon of packaging and repackaging waste has become. Packaging presents a problem for several reasons. Firstly, it uses up huge volumes of natural resources: oil for plastic trays, bags and wrappers; trees for paper, cartons, and cardboard; aluminum for tins and cans; glass for jars and bottles. About 8% of global oil production is used to make plastic, which a quarter is thought to end up in packaging.
Secondly, climate change is hastened by the green house gas emissions from the energy used to make and transport containers. Thirdly, there is the problem of disposal. The packaging industry claims that, with the quadrupling of recycling rates in the past decade, 60% of packaging is now recycled; but even so, it admits that five million tons of it is dumped in holes in the ground.
In market research, stores have picked up packaging as one of the issues that grates with customers. The industry argues that, as products need to be protected in travelling to reach shops, under-packaging creates more wastes. But packaging performs another commercial function: it engages and entices the customer, and often exaggerates the size of the product. This is particularly noticeable in the rapidly growing trend for seasonal merchandise, whether for Christmas gifts or Easter candles. Today therefore is a key moment for deciding how we handle our waste products in the future, for two reasons;
Firstly, the government is advised to produce a national waste strategy. States and local councils would also have theirs. These would be the first in our history. I believe that new measures to force a cutback in packaging should be part of it. Secondly, most of the major supermarkets should begin to realize that they do have to act on packaging and should commit to tackle it.
For example, paper is a vital part of our daily lives, from the Newspapers we read to the ‘post –it-notes’ by the phone, our dairies and notebooks, the napkins we use at lunch times, our office stationary, till receipts, the book or glossy by our bed. It is not surprising, then, that the paper around us adds up to roughly 11million tons’ worth of potentially reusable waste each year. So if we all recycled diligently or bought recycled-paper goods, it could save up to 165 million trees being felled each year.
Recycling one tone of paper saves average-sized trees. Every tone of paper recycled saves: 30,000litres of water, 27kg of air pollutants and enough electricity to power a three-bedroom house for up to six months.
Hoping you join me on this campaign wherever you are!