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Plastic Peril: Unveiling the Impact of Lightweight Poly Bags on Nigeria's Vital Sectors - A Call to Safeguard Health, Agriculture, Transport, Tourism, and Recreation

Plastics offer convenient and lightweight packaging solutions for consumer products, but their pervasive presence poses a significant environmental threat, particularly in developing nations. Their lightweight nature facilitates easy dispersal by wind, water, and animals, exacerbating pollution issues. Moreover, the limited incentives for recycling and challenges in collection compound these problems. This study highlights how plastic litter disproportionately affects rural areas, subsequently impacting urban dwellers and the broader Nigerian economy. It identifies issues such as transmission of diseases, contamination risks, airborne pollutants like phthalates and bisphenol, and their adverse effects on both the environment and human health. In agriculture, plastic pollution disrupts soil structure, reduces water retention, hampers microbial activity, and interferes with nutrient cycling. Additionally, it causes equipment damage, obstructs tilling operations, promotes fertilizer runoff, and contributes to erosion. In the transportation, tourism, and recreation sectors, plastic litter results in unsightly pollution, impairs visual aesthetics, blocks drainage systems, accelerates erosion, triggers flash floods, and harms wildlife habitats. While plastic bottles and similar items pose fewer environmental concerns due to their easier collection, recycling, and reuse compared to lightweight packaging polymers, urgent action is imperative to address the pervasive plastic pollution. A shift from polyethylene bags for small product packaging to plastic bottles is recommended to mitigate these adverse impacts on the Nigerian populace and the environment.
Published on April 2, 2024
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