Polymer or Plastics are durable, lightweight and inexpensive materials, which moulds readily into a variety of products with wide range of applications. Over the last 60 years, production of plastics had witnessed remarkable increase and is proposed to be used in solving other global pressing problems. Increasing demand and usage of plastics, and its disposal has resulted in several environmental pollution burden on both land and water habitats threatening the safety and health of wildlife, aquatic life and humans. Economic growth, changing consumption and production patterns are resulting into rapid increase in generation of waste plastics globally. Increasing attention has been paid to plastic waste by policymakers, scientists and the media. Since plastics are non-biodegradable in nature, it is very difficult to eliminate the waste plastics. The problems in plastic waste management and disposing them in landfills and burning them severely affects the environment leading to pollution of air, water and soil. Mechanical recycling of low value waste plastics i.e. shredding or agglomeration of the plastics is primarily necessary in converting the waste plastics into a more useful form of recycled plastics using further recycling methods like extrusion, injection or other recycling methods.
- Background of the study
Pollution caused by plastics and rubber has become an issue of global concern. Polymeric materials (plastics and rubbers) comprise a steadily increasing proportion of the municipal and industrial waste that is either poorly managed or accumulating in landfills. Since polymeric materials do not decompose easily, disposal of waste polymers is a serious, long-term environmental problem with most plastics gradually disintegrating to form microparticles which finally arrive in the oceans. Radiation technology can be used to alleviate this problem. Some promising results indicate that radiation technology is able to convert plastic waste into a variety of useful purposes presenting powerful opportunities for environmental sustainability and material innovations. The increasing quest for better quality of life is an unending goal for the people of this world. This has contributed to the increased consumption of goods and services, resulting in the generation of waste. Plastics have become an integral part of our lives, its wide use in various sectors and its ever-expanding applications has been of enormous benefits to the society. The amounts of plastics consumed annually have been growing steadily (Kumar, 2017; Kaza et al., 2018).Being a versatile, light weight, strong and potentially transparent material, plastics are the drivers for its growth and ideal suitability for a variety of applications. Their low cost, excellent oxygen/moisture barrier properties, bio-inertness and light weight make them excellent packaging materials. Besides its wide use in packaging, automotive and industrial applications, they are extensively used in medical delivery systems, artificial implants and other healthcare applications, water desalination and removal of bacteria etc (Vermaet al., 2016; Okon, 2018) Usage of plastics, in preservation and distribution of food, housing and appliances are too many to mention. Specially designed plastics, have been an integral part of the communication and electronics industry, especially in the manufacture of chips and compartments. They are also used in alternative energy systems such as fuel cells, batteries. (Babayemi et al., 2018). Meanwhile, increasing plastic production and use in emerging economies looks set to continue, and waste management infrastructure will have to develop accordingly (Uwaegbulam et al., 2018). Unfortunately, the properties of plastic that make it so valuable also make its disposal problematic, such as its durability, light weight and low cost. In many cases plastics are thrown away after one use, especially packaging and sheeting, but because they are durable, they persist in the environment (Hopewell et al., 2009) However, as the use of plastic in modern society has increased, so too have the environmental impacts associated with its production and disposal. UNEP (2018) highlighted the environmental costs of plastic use in consumer World population, which surpassed 7 billion in 2011, is forecast to exceed 9 billion by2050. It is feared that the growing demand for resources will facilitate an increase in resource consumption and waste generation, contribute to deterioration of the natural environment and climate change, and impact future generations (Ogwo et al., 2013). To solve poverty, hunger, and environmental problems and achieve sustainable development in diverse ways while dealing with this increase in world population, it is generally acknowledged that a multifaceted approach that integrates economic, social, and environmental aspects is needed as it could help to address some of the world‘s most pressing problems, such as climate change and food shortages. For example, plastics are used in the manufacture of rotors for wind turbines and tunnels made from polyethylene can help crops grow in otherwise unfavorable conditions (Oyake-Ombis et al., 2015). As demand for materials with certain qualities increases, the plastics industry will aim to supply them. Owing to their immense advantages, such as low density, mass processability and free shaping behaviour plastics became an indispensable part of our life in the 20th century. As a part of crude oil processing industry the production of monomers and polymers became the essential part of chemical industry and the processing of plastics created a whole branch of new technologies and resulted in several inventions. Plastics packaging materials meant a quantum leap not only for the food industry but for durable products as well. Heat insulation became easily available for housings, an invaluable asset since the beginning of the oil price crisis. But this is only one side of the coin. We have to face the dark side as well: due to their slow degradation and to the irresponsible customer behaviour our environment is becoming heavily contaminated by bulky waste which may endanger the biological equilibrium. Although not comparable with the hazards caused e.g. by the production and used fuels in various engines, plastics are fiercely attacked by environmentalists, often without offering or even considering alternatives. Plastics, as macromolecular organic compounds, can be utilized in two basic ways: either without breaking down the macromolecular structure (materials recycling) or by splitting them into low molecular compounds (energetic utilization, feedstock recycling etc.). A special case of degradation became especially favoured in the past decades: controlled degradation where our knowledge on biological or thermo-oxidative degradation is utilized to tailor the lifetime of the product and its raw material.
- STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Waste management has become a global predicament, requiring adequate attention in order to solve the world’s resource and energy challenges. The World Environment Day celebration which begun in 1974, with the aim of raising awareness, supporting action and driving change towards environmental protection had its theme for 2018 as Beat Plastic Pollution‘. Plastic pollution is a global, and raising concern. We have produced more plastic in the last 10 years than in the whole of the 20th century, and every piece of plastic ever produced still exists today(J and K Envis Hub, 2018). These environmental costs have prompted some to argue that plastics should be replaced with alternative materials, which may present fewer environmental challenges (Elias and Omojola, 2015). However, as the use of plastic in modern society has increased, so too have the environmental impacts associated with its production and disposal. UNEP (2018) highlighted the environmental costs of plastic use in consumer products, including emissions of greenhouse gases, air, land and water pollutants, depletion of water and the production of marine debris in the global oceans.
- OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The study has one main objective which is sub-divided into general and specific objective. The general objective is to evaluate the potential of polymer waste for economic growth with emphasis on Bonny island. The specific objectives are:
- To examine the potential of polymer waste for economic growth in Nigeria
- To ascertain if there is any significant relationship between polymer waste management and economic growth with emphasis on bonny Island
- To ascertain the effect of polymer waste on Nigeria economic development
- To proffer suggested solutions to the identified problem
- RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher to aid the completion of the study;
- Does polymer waste have any role in improving the economic growth in Nigeria?
- Is there any significant relationship between polymer waste management and economic growth with emphasis on bonny Island?
- Is there any effect of polymer waste on Nigeria economic development?
- RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
The following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher to id the completion of the study;
H0: There is no significant relationship between polymer waste management and economic growth with emphasis on bonny Island
H1: There is no significant relationship between polymer waste management and economic growth with emphasis on bonny Island
H0: polymer waste does not have any effect on Nigeria economic development
H2: polymer waste does have an effect on Nigeria economic development
- SIGNIFICANT OF THE STUDY
It is believed that at the completion of the study, te findings will be of great significance to the River state waste management board as the study seek to provide first of a kind solution to polymer waste management to aid economic growth. The study will also be of benefit to researcher who intend to embark on a study in a similar topic as the study will serve as a pathfinder to further study. The study will also be of importance to the River state ministry of environment and waste management committee as the study seek to provide economic solution to effective polymer waste management to the Bonny economy. Finally, the study will be useful to researchers, students, teachers, academia’s and the general public as the study will contribute to the pool of existing literature on the subject matter and also contribute to knowledge.
- SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study covers the evaluation of the potential of polymer waste for economic growth. But in the course of the study, there are some factors that limit the scope of the study;
- a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
- b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
- c) Organizational privacy: Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.
1.8 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
A polymer is a substance or material consisting of very large molecules, or macromolecules, composed of many repeating subunits.
Since polymeric materials do not decompose easily, disposal of waste polymers is a serious, long-term environmental problem with most plastics gradually disintegrating to form microparticles which finally arrive in the oceans.
Polymer Waste Management
The world is literally awash with plastics and this book practically provides a broad overview of plastic recycling procedures and waste management.
Economic growth can be defined as the increase or improvement in the inflation-adjusted market value of the goods and services produced by an economy over a certain period of time.
1.9 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows
Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study