By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The National President, Polymer Institute of Nigeria, Professor Paul Mamza has said that Nanotechnology of Polymers is the current area of interest in the Scientific and Technological world, because plastic, in particular, are fast replacing traditional materials like metals, ceramics.
He expressed this while granting interview to newsmen ahead of the institute’s 2017 conference, billed for Port Harcourt, Rivers State in October.
“This year’s conference of the Polymer Institute of Nigeria is christened “Polymers and Nanomaterials in the 21st Century”. The Conference will take place from Wednesday, 25th to Saturday, 28th October, 2017 at the Helena Haven Hotels, East – West road, Choba, opposite Uniport main gate, Port Harcourt.
“Nanotechnology of Polymers is the current area of interest in the Scientific and Technological world, because plastic, in particular, are fast replacing traditional materials like metals, ceramics etc. The reason is not far – fetched, plastics are cheaper and have higher technical advantage than the traditional materials and virtually every device is becoming smaller and more effective in terms of service – delivery. Government Ministries, Agencies and Parastatals concerned with polymer and allied products should take advantage of the opportunities at this year’s Conference of the Polymer Institute of Nigeria to key –into the deliberations. Industries are also encouraged to participate in the exhibitions at the Conference, which will help in showcasing their products and services to the technological world,” he said.
Mamza explained that this year’s Conference will be the first International Conference of the Polymer Institute of Nigeria, because all the lead Speakers are either from Canada, or South – Africa.
“My message to the Federal Government is to join hands with the Institute in the realization of its aims of encouraging quality research and policy direction in Polymer Science and Technology in Nigeria, and also with the motive of improving our nation’s economic fortunes for the betterment of the citizenry. Government should stop patronizing quacks for true professionals if the country must move forward,” he added.
On how how worried the Polymer Institute of Nigeria is over dumping of Plastics like empty bottles, sachets of water the environment, he said that the institute is taking far-reaching measures by engaging relevant Ministries and Parastatals on how to tackle the environmental hazards associated with plastic wastes in Nigeria.
“Our persuasion has ultimately moved from passion to desperation. Previous Governments have a luke-warm altitude towards enforcing legislation on plastic disposal and encouraging research on environmentally friendly methods of plastic disposal.
“My first assignment as the National President of the Polymer Institute of Nigeria was to pay a courtesy visit to Honourable Ministers of Environment and that of Science and Technology, in order to engage them on developing a road map for plastic waste Management strategies and encouragement of research on biodegradable and photodegradable plastics which is the norm in the advanced countries.
“Polyethylene is the simplest plastic known which form the major component of the plastic wastes on our dumpsites, yet it takes polyethylene almost a hundred years for it to start to degrade on its own. This is to tell you the gravity of problems associated with plastic disposal our society is faced with. We may have higher plastics which are more complex and more difficult to dispose in a refuse mix.
“Over two decades now, I have tried to popularize the use of biodegradable and photodegradable plastics because the recycling method and other disposal methods like incineration, landfill, composting and others, are not cost-effective, they are laborious and is associated with environmental and health hazards. Nigeria must move along with the technological world and hence, the country must invest in professional pursuits and research-oriented programmes for better human existence,” he explained.
The President said that the institute is made up of a pool of Polymer professionals in the grades of Scientists, Engineers, Technologists and Industrialists working relentlessly to see that this menace is reduced or even entirely eliminated.
“The Institute is sponsoring a bill for Chartering, which has passed a second reading in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. When Chartered, the rules of enforcement in terms of legislation, production and disposal will be taken care of effectively. We are on course,” he disclosed.
Commenting on how the institute is alerting Nigerians on fake plastic products, he said that the institute has always been on its toes to sensitize the public on fake plastic products.
“When the issue of circulation of plastic rice became contentious, it was the Polymer Institute of Nigeria that rose to the challenge of warming the Nigerian populace of its disastrous effects and providing the citizenry with tips on how to detect the plastic rice.
“Ours is to take a patriotic position to rid the nation of any plastic or other Polymer products that fake and substandard. We are working closely with the Standard Organization of Nigeria in this regard,” he emphasized.