Plastic pollution poses hazard to aviation safety—Stakeholders

*L-R: the general manager, environment, Federal Airport Authority Of Nigeria (FAAN), Mrs. Janet Omere; director of engineering services, FAAN, Mr. Salisu Daura representing the managing director of FAAN, Mr. Saleh Dunoma, guest speaker, Prof. Babajide Alo, and chairman, Nigeria Environmental Society, Dr. Eugene Itua, during the 2018 World Environmental Day celebration organised by FAAN in Lagos.

Stakeholders in the aviation industry and other sectors have said that plastic pollution has a negative impact on the airport environment and creates problems for flights.

Speaking at the at the 2018 World Environment Day held in Lagos on Tuesday, the managing director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. Saleh Dunoma said though airports do not produce plastic products they however provide avenues for installations of plastic products in the form of facilities as well as selling of items packed in plastic containers, thereby contributing to plastic waste generation into the immediate and the larger environment.

He said evidence of plastic waste in Nigeria cannot be disputed stressing that available statistics are evidence of everyone’s contributions to plastic pollution.

“Only one sector could not have been responsible for the over 200,000 metric tonnes of plastic wastes that find their way into the water bodies every year in the country.

“Only one sector could not have been responsible for the ranking of Nigeria as one of the top twenty countries with the worst plastic waste management,” said Dunoma.

Also speaking, the commissioner and chief executive officer of Accident Investigation Bureau, Mr. Akin Olateru said improving the environmental performance of aviation is a challenge the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) takes very seriously.

The commissioner who was represented at the event by the general manager, security, Mr. Olumide Osineye said improving the environmental performance of aviation is a challenge the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) takes very seriously.

He said ICAO has developed a range of standards, policies and guidance material for the application of integrated measures to address most environmental protection issues thereby embracing technological improvements, operating procedures, proper organization of air traffic, appropriate airport and land-use planning, and the use of market-based options.

Olateru said plastic pollution produces foreign object debris (FOD) which impact negatively on aviation safety.

“FOD is any article or substance alien to an aircraft or system which could potentially cause damage.

“At an airport, FOD includes those objects found in an inappropriate location that as a result of being at that location can damage equipment.

“Most common FOD items include aircraft parts, tyre fragment, mechanics tools, nails, luggage parts, broken pavement and stones but in our peculiar environment and because of the nature/habit of our disposal of products plastic can be included as an FOD,” he said.

He said FOD poses a safety hazard and could be ingested in an aircraft engine which can result in damage to the aircraft or cause an accident.

“On July 25, 2000 an AF 4590 departing CDG ran over a piece of titanium debris from a continental DC 10 shredding a tyre and slamming rubber debris into the plane’s fuel tank. The subsequent leak and fire caused the concorde crash killing 100 passengers, nine crew members and four people on the ground,” he recalled.

To address the problem, Olateru called on airports to develop a mechanism to check and remove FOD and the likes from runway, taxiway, apron, aircraft parking areas and loading ramps.

He also advocated for debris management programme to include awareness and training, detection through manual inspections and equipment; removal using equipment and evaluation of the programme through data collection to identify ways to make improvement.

“Concessionaires at airport can be advised on options they can switch to for packaging, storing and bagging items. Many companies around the world today are coming up with excellent low-cost replacements, such as bamboo utensils in place of plastic ones,” he added.







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