Burning of plastics and nervous system breakdown

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An environmentalist, Mrs Folasade Adeboyejo, has warned against the burning of plastic products because it is harmful to the human nervous system.

Adeboyejo, who is the Head of Programming, ProtectOzone, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Saturday that the practice of burning plastics daily poses a great risk to the health of Nigerians.

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She said plastic waste such as Polystyrene (Styrofoam) and Polyvinyl (PVC) should never be burnt because they release styrene gas which is harmful to the human nervous system.

She advocated recycling as the best way to avoid both the environmental and social problems created by burning of plastics.

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“Plastics at dump sites show insufficient efforts at recycling and pose great health risk as they absorb water and therefore provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

“Recycling as a social enterprise offers colossal benefits to the environment, society and economy as it has the potential to contribute to the attainment of multiple sustainable goals.

“Plastic recycling can become a community based initiative aimed at empowering youths to become stakeholders in the plastic value chain,” she said.

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According to Adeboyejo, 60 to 80 per cent of household waste is made of plastic and urged individuals to ensure that such are separated from other waste products.

“Polymers are in categories one to seven and recycling is made easier if I know that the plastic I am holding is PET bottle or Low Density polyethylene.

“Only plastics in similar categories can be recycled together. This is why sorting is done by the informal waste managers.

“The easiest way of identifying plastics is by checking the number written in the recycle logo.

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“Enforcing this by the government goes a long way in contributing to recycling efficiency,” she stated.

Adeboyejo added that Nigeria needed to take proactive actions to preserve sea life.

“This puts our own lagoon at very high risk of endangering aqua species, and this indicates the trans-boundary nature of the problem,” she said.

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