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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 16-21

Awareness of health and environmental hazards of plastic bag use and available substitutes among health workers of two hospitals in a rural area of Northwest Nigeria


1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Federal Medical Centre, Birnin Kudu, Jigawa State, Nigeria
2 Department of Community Medicine, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Nigeria
3 Department of Family Medicine, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Godpower Chinedu Michael
Department of Family Medicine, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, P.M.B. 3452, Kano
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ed.ed_26_21

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Objective: This study assessed health-care workers' awareness of the health and environmental hazards associated with plastic bags and available substitutes. Methods: This cross-sectional questionnaire-based survey was carried out in two rural hospitals in Northwest Nigeria over a 4-week study period. It included permanently employed health workers who were residents in the study community. The data were analyzed using SPSS version-20; the association between respondents' sociodemographic characteristics and awareness of the harmful effects of plastic-bags was determined using the Chi-square test. Results: There were 200 respondents aged 20–55 years with a mean of 31.7 ± 8.6 years. Most, 45% (90/200), respondents were nurses/midwives; 21% (42/200) were doctors. Most respondents, 49% (98/200), would throw away the plastic bags after a single use; 23.5% (47/200) would keep and reuse, while 45.5% (91/200) use reusable bags for shopping. Most respondents, 91% (182/200), were aware of the harmful effect on the environment, while 74% (148/200) knew it could be harmful to health. Respondents' age (>30 years) was significantly associated with awareness of the harmful effects of used plastic bags (P = 0.03), while male gender, age >30 years, being married, and of non-Hausa/Fulani ethnicity were associated with awareness of plastic-bag substitutes. Conclusions: Most respondents were aware of the health and environmental hazards of plastic bags and the available substitutes. Promoting reuse of plastic bags and the use of available substitutes will help to control this growing hazard.


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