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Plastic Bags: Support Government Action to Protect Environment

A majority of Nigerians see plastic bags as a major source of pollution in the country and favor government action to protect the environment, the latest Afrobarometer survey shows.

More than half of citizens say pollution is a serious problem in their communities, citing trash and plastic disposal and sanitation as their most important environmental issues.

The Lagos state government last week announced a ban on Styrofoam and other single-use plastics, which it said are clogging drainage channels in Lagos.

Find out more about Nigerians’ views on pollution and environmental governance here.

Key findings

  • Almost two-thirds (63%) of citizens see plastic bags as a major source of pollution in Nigeria (Figure 1).

  • More than half (53%) say pollution is a “somewhat serious” or “very serious” problem in their communities (Figure 2).

  • Citizens say trash and plastic disposal (cited by 27%) and human waste management (26%) are the most important environmental issues in their communities (Figure 3).

  • Almost two-thirds (63%) of Nigerians say the government should be doing more to limit pollution and protect the environment, including 48% who say it needs to do “much more” (Figure 4).

Afrobarometer surveys

Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan survey research network that provides reliable data on African experiences and evaluations of democracy, governance, and quality of life. Eight survey rounds in up to 39 countries have been completed since 1999. Round 9 surveys (2021/2023) are currently underway. Afrobarometer’s national partners conduct face-to-face interviews in the language of the respondent’s choice.

The Afrobarometer team in Nigeria, led by NOIPolls, interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1,600 adult citizens in March 2022. A sample of this size yields country-level results with a margin of error of +/-2.5 percentage points at a 95% confidence level. Previous surveys were conducted in Nigeria in 2000, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2020.


Figure 1: Are plastic bags a major source of pollution? | Nigeria | 2022


Chart showing citizens perception of plastic bags
Perception of Plastic Bags

Respondents were asked: Please tell me whether you agree or disagree with the following statement: Plastic bags are a major source of pollution in this country.

Figure 2: Extent of pollution in the community | Nigeria | 2022

Chart showing the problem of pollution
Extent of Pollution in Communities

Respondents were asked: How serious a problem is pollution, such as the accumulation of trash or garbage, or damage to the quality of the air, the water, or the land, in your community?


Figure 3: Most important environmental issue in the community | Nigeria | 2022

Issues plaguing communities
Environmental issues plaguing Communities

Respondents were asked: Which of the following is the most important environmental issue in your community today?

Figure 4: Should government do more to protect the environment? | Nigeria | 2022

Chart showing citizens expectations of the government in tackling pollution
Expectations of Government on Pollution

Respondents were asked: In your opinion, should our government be doing more or less than it is currently doing to limit pollution and protect the environment in this country?

For more information, please contact:


Raphael Mbaegbu

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