One of the highlights of Earth Day 2022 event at AUN was a piece of legislation drafted by AUN's Honor Society students banning the use of plastic bags in Adamawa State.
Titled 'Plastic Bags Prohibition Bill, 2022,’ the proposed legislation, which has since been submitted to the Adamawa State House of Assembly for consideration, seeks to "prohibit the use, manufacturing, and importation of plastic bags in Adamawa State, whether for household or commercial purposes."
The Bill has as objective "to address the negative impact of plastic bags on the environment, human beings, and wildlife, as well as facilitate the administration of proper waste management."
The AUN Honor Society drafted the Bill on behalf of the University Community. The Bill was submitted to the State Assembly through the Honorable member representing Yola South State Constituency and former Speaker of the House, the Rt. Hon Kabiru Minjiyawa.
Honorable Minjiyawa was patient and committed enough to fully participate in the environmental clean-up by community members, NGOs, and senior students from the AUN Academy, Ahmadu Ribadu College, and Concordia College, Yola. President Margee Ensign led the clean-up campaign, which extended to a kilometer radius outside the Main Campus of AUN.
President of the AUN Honor Society and final-year Law student Ms. Pwagwadi Anthony Madwatte described the negative impact of plastics on human and environmental health. She noted that plastics take a very long time to decompose, and when burned, they release toxic substances into the air, which leads to ambient air and land pollution. Plastics, she stated, also cause health hazards and energetic deficiencies, amongst other things.
"These effects, and so much more, show why it is important to have regulations against the use of plastics to protect ourselves and the environment. Nobody will do that for us. If we can enact other environmental laws for regulatory purposes, we can also enact laws against plastics that cause so much harm”.
What makes the legislation unique, according to Ms. Pwagwadi, is that not only does it seek to discourage people from using plastics but it also considers alternatives to the use of plastic bags. The legislation also stresses the need for the Adamawa State government to carry out enlightenment campaigns to educate the public on the negative impact of plastic bags. The government, she noted, is obliged to introduce the necessary measures to promote sustainable alternatives to plastic bags.
“We have some creative women here in AUN who make great eco-friendly reusable bags. Instead of walking around with a hundred plastic bags in the market for every shopping round, a sizable eco-friendly bag can do the trick”.
The historic legislation, she said, was drafted with the hope that it will get us to think and move forward.
"We can always start from somewhere. As a community, as a state, and as a nation, we must act and do what we can to save our environment.”