Plastic carrier bags used by shoppers in Nigeria, are light, inexpensive and convenient. However, the use of plastic carrier bags entails negative environmental externalities (littering, ocean contamination, other environmental pollution etc) Since their invention in 1960, plastic bags have become a staple of everyday life. If you grew up in a Nigerian home, then you're used to seeing your mother hoard plastic bags filled with even more plastic bags – for no reason whatsoever.
Single-use Plastic carrier bags are usually made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and are usually used once, though they are often reused for Some other purpose such as to hold household waste.
The sad part about all this is that the negative effects they have on our health and our environment far outweigh their temporary convenience.
Plastic bags are not easily decomposed and contribute towards the degradation of the environment. A plastic bag can take from 15 to 1,000 years to break down – which explains why most of them find their way to landfill sites and end up causing pollution. Plastic bags can be put on the market only if they comply with essential requirements for packaging minimisation, limitation of hazardous substances and suitability for reuse and recovery, including recycling, energy recovery, composting and biodegradation.
I feel that to ban the manufacturing and importation of all plastic bags used for commercial and household will go a long way in correcting this future disaster.
At the moment, Cameroon, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Mauritania and Malawi are among the other African countries that have adopted or announced such bans – and we are now waiting for Nigeria to get on it too.
This ban in developing countries is most likely due to ease of enforcement, inadequate waste retrieval and treatment systems and the need to address chronic litter problems. And this ban options are favourable rather than market-based instrument where thickness weight and durability are considered.