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Plastic pollution in Nigeria

The study explores perceptions of plastic pollution and social practices concerning ‘pure water’ sachets amongst a selected group of young adults in Awka, Nigeria (18-25 years). The study identifies knowledge gaps which can inform campaigns and awareness materials; findings are disseminated via media campaigns and publicity among students and staff via university Radio station (UNIZIK Radio).

We work with leading media figures in Nigeria broadcasting to develop a legacy beyond the project and share findings with our existing contacts at WHO and other organisations. Given that the majority of plastic pollution originates from land, this research will be of interest and benefit to land-based waste management policy makers.

This qualitative project contributes to the growing literature on plastic pollution as there is a dearth of social science research into this topic globally. Given the global significance of plastic pollution it is important to examine cultural attitudes and social practices in Nigeria with regard to plastic waste, perceptions of citizenship and social change.

It is anticipated that this study will lead to a larger global network of researchers addressing the cultural specificity of plastic pollution.


Dumbili E and Henderson, L. (2019) The Challenge of Plastic Pollution in Nigeria. In Letcher, TM. (ed.) Plastic Waste and Recycling: Environmental Impact, Societal Issues and the Circular Economy.

Elsevier Dumbili, E. and Henderson, L. (2017) 'Mediating Alcohol Use in Eastern Nigeria: A Qualitative Study Exploring the Role of Popular Media in Young People's Recreational Drinking'. Health Education Research,32(3) 279-291.doi:10.1093/her/cyx043

Henderson, L and Dumbili, E. (2017) 'Learning to Drink in Nigeria: Tales from Hollywood and Nollywood'

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Dr Lesley Henderson

Related Research Group(s)


Sustainable Plastics - SPLaSH group combines the strengths of social scientists in the Department of Social and Political Sciences with colleagues working in the area of plastic pollution from Environmental Sciences, Design, Business & Marketing, and Engineering. We are leading experts on behaviour change, public health protection, resource and waste management, governance aspects and sustainability design.

Partnering with confidence

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.

Project last modified 09/01/2024