The Commissioner of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Akin Olateru said the best solution in addressing plastic pollution in the environment was for individuals and companies around the world coming together to implement practices to reduce waste at every level.
He tasked airport managers to develop a mechanism to check and remove Foreign Object Debris (FOD) and the likes from runway, taxiway, apron, aircraft parking areas and loading ramps, adding that a daily self-inspection should be conducted.
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 according the AIB chief include aircraft parts, tyre fragment, mechanics tools, nails, luggage parts, broken pavement and stones but in peculiar environment and because of the nature/habit of our disposal of products plastic can be included as an FOD.
Olateru, an aircraft engineer made this disclosure in his congratulatory message to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) on the occasion of the 2018 World Environment Day with theme, ‘Beat Plastic Pollution”
He noted that as the world’s population continues to grow, so does the amount of garbage that people produce, stressing that on-the-go lifestyles require easily disposable products, such as soda cans or bottles of water.
To him, the accumulation of these products has led to increasing amounts of plastic pollution around the world, noting, “As we are all aware, plastic is composed of toxic pollutants and as such has potential to cause great harm to the environment in the form of air, water and land pollution”.
His words, “Plastic pollution is when plastic has gathered in an area and has begun to negatively impact the natural environment and create problems for plants, wildlife and even human population. Of a fact, plastic is an incredibly useful material but it is also made from toxic compounds known to cause illness and because it is meant for durability it is not biodegradable”.
“Plastic is nearly impossible to break down. Burning plastic is incredibly toxic and can lead to harmful atmospheric conditions and deadly illness. Therefore if it is in a landfill, it will never stop releasing toxins in that area. Even recycling does not cut down on plastic, as it essentially uses the existing plastic albeit in a new form. The process of recycling plastic can also lead to plastic irritants being released in a number of ways”, he added.
He further stated that FOD poses a safety hazards a result of ingestion in an aircraft engine which can result in damage to the aircraft or cause an accident.
He recalled that 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, 9 crew members and 4 people on the ground.
As a way of addressing the problem, he called on individuals and companies around the world agreeing to implement practices to reduce waste at every level.
He equally called for a debris management program to be developed to include awareness and training, detection through manual inspections and equipment; removal using equipment and evaluation of the program through data collection to identify ways to make improvement.
“Some tips in reducing plastic waste include shop friendly, get rid of bottled water – make use of re-useable water bottles as a substitute thus reducing plastic waste and exposure to leaking bottles