The house of representatives on Tuesday passed a bill banning plastic bags in the country.
The lawmakers said the bill is to among other things address waste management and protect the environment.
The Plastic bag prohibition bill provides for: “An act to prohibit the use, manufacture and importation of all plastic bags used for commercial and household packaging in order to address harmful impacts to oceans, rivers, lakes, forests, environment as well as human beings and also to relieve pressure on landfills and waste management and for other related matters.”
The bill states that a retailer shall offer a paper bag to the customer at the point of sale.
It describes as an offence: failure to provide customers with paper bags, manufacturing plastic bags for the purpose of selling, and importing plastic bags “whether as a carryout bag or for sale”.
According to the bill, any person found guilty of the offences shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding N500,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to both such fine and imprisonment.
It also prescribes a fine of N5 million to companies guilty of the offences.
Contributing to the motion on the bill, Tahir Monguno from Borno state said plastic bags have had an adverse effect on Nigeria’s environment.
He said: “Nowadays we have a lot of plastic bags in our water bodies and they are adversely affected. So the bill seeks to regulate plastic bags to reduce the adverse effect on our environment.”
Yusuf Lasun, deputy speaker, however expressed concern that the bill does not provide for recycling.
“There should be room for recycling. Because by this bil, you are simply saying that plastic materials should not be seen anywhere, he said, adding: “And this would mean the need for another amendment. Recycling is still part of cleaning environment.”