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French Embassy Launches Plastic Waste Management Project In Nigerian universities

The French Embassy, through the Cooperation and Cultural Department, on Thursday, launched a plastic waste management project under its French Embassy Fund.

The project worth €753,000 involves 13 Nigerian universities, focusing on developing innovative and adaptive ideas for the reduction of plastic waste and enhancing campus sustainable practices.

The participating universities include the Alex Ekwueme Federal University; Bayero University, Kano; Nile University of Nigeria; Covenant University, and Babcock University.

Others were the University of Jos; Obafemi Awolowo University; University of Ibadan; University of Lagos; Yaba Technology; University of Calabar; University of Nsukka; and the University of Delta.

Speaking at the inaugural steering committee meeting in Abuja with the participating universities and stakeholders, the acting French Ambassador to Nigeria, Jean-Francois Hasperue, said universities are at the forefront of shaping the future and the project is a significant step towards a more sustainable world.

He added, “There are projects on the ground that are very important, but we have to ensure the follow-up of the Paris Agreement and make sure that the engagements taken at that location are fulfilled and followed up. And in that endeavour, we are partnering with many countries.

“We chose African countries because we believe fighting climate change deserves solidarity between the most economically advanced countries and the less economically advanced countries.

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“We have put in place, through the Paris Pact for People and Planets, a system where we have engaged in funding up to $1bn, and the French contribution will be $6bn, more or less, so more than what was expected from France, to fund projects on the ground to combat poverty and at the same time fight climate change, the effects of pollution, and biodiversity erosion,” he highlighted.”

Also speaking, the Science and Higher Education Attache, Mr Sebastien Bede, said, “Plastic waste is a pressing global issue and through this project, we aim to  not only reduce the plastic footprint on Nigerian campuses but also to  inspire a new generation of environmental stewards who can champion the  cause for a plastic-free world starting with their immediate  communities.”

The Vice-Chancellor of UNILAG, Prof Folasade Ogunsola, said the project is not just about money but about value.

Prof Ogunsola said, “What drives you might not drive a young person, so how do we make waste collection and the environment fashionable? I think it’s with the young we can find that and we have to ask them, we have to test whatever hypothesis we have, and that you can only do on the campus in the university, so it’s a lot of work.

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“We’ve already started it at the University of Lagos, we do know that students will do it, but not every student is doing it. Right now, with what we already do, we make about a million from waste but it is plowed back, and we still have a lot of waste to get rid of.”

The FEF-funded project is an initiative of the French government as part of the global dynamic to fight against plastic pollution. The project will be fully implemented by December 2025.

Source: Punch

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