NIGERIA – A coalition of environmental rights groups has expressed concerns over the recent suspension of Green Taxation on Single-Use Plastics by the Federal Government, warning that the decision will turn Nigeria into a dumping ground for plastic waste products.

The environmentalists who expressed their concern through a statement issued by their Communication Officer, Elvira Jordan recently, argued that the move will transform Nigeria into a dumping ground for plastic waste, exacerbating the already critical environmental situation.

The suspension of the Green Taxation, which includes an Excise Tax on Single-Use Plastics such as containers and bottles, was announced by the Federal Government as part of its efforts to create a business-friendly environment.

However, environmental advocates warn that this decision undermines the government’s commitment to addressing the pressing issue of plastic waste and its impact on the ecosystem.

Chima Williams, the Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, expressed his disappointment with the decision, stating: “This new development will only bring to fruition the ominous prediction that plastic products in the ocean will surpass the number of fish in the water by 2040.”

Williams emphasized that Nigeria should be enacting policies to combat the invasion of plastic in oceans and water bodies, rather than promoting measures that increase plastic production.

“At a time when the world is striving to raise public awareness on the urgency of ending plastic use, it is unfortunate that our president is increasing the significance of plastic products. Nigeria is already being ravaged by a plastic tsunami,” added Williams.

He urged the government to enact legislation that supports the phase-out of plastic and demonstrates its commitment to the implementation of the Paris Agreement’s waste sector reduction targets.

Also speaking on the issue, the ERA/ FoEN Project Officer of Waste Management, Melody Enyinnaya pointed out that ‘Green taxations’ are eco/environmental taxes, foisted on activities that pollute the environment, as Single-Used Plastics have become a major pollutant of the environment.

According to her, ‘Green taxation’ on SUPs incorporates the negative expanse of the adverse effects of SUPs on the environment and the idea surrounding green taxes is to increase production costs for corporations, thereby bringing about higher prices on plastics, which will have effect of discouraging consumers from purchasing them, further reducing their pollution rate on the environment.

“The key implication here is that this suspension will impede the efforts in reducing SUPs pollution, especially for a country like Nigeria that does not have effective policies guiding SUPs production, consumption and disposal,” said Enyinnaya.

She urged the government to revisit the suspension of ‘Green taxation’ while considering the environmental and health implications of such policies.

She further advised the government to look at developing legislative instruments like a withdrawal policy that will hold these corporations accountable for their product waste.

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