Framing Biodegradable Issues in Selected Online Nigerian Newspapers: An Environmental Communication Study

  • Ben-Collins Emeka Ndinojuo University of Port Harcourt
Keywords: Biodegradable; Content analysis; Environmental; Newspaper; Nigeria


This inductive qualitative content analysis study analyzes the themes embedded in stories about biodegradable in five online Nigeria newspapers namely the Cable, the Guardian, Leadership, Premium Times and the Punch using discourse analysis. The aim of the study was to understand and uncover the themes used by journalists when reporting about biodegradables especially in relation to its adoption as one of the solutions to the problems associated with waste management and the environment generally. Agenda setting and framing theories served as the theoretical bedrocks that grounded the study. Data was collected over a five-month period between April 1, 2019 and August 30, 3019, with the consideration of June 5 each year celebrated as World Environment Day, data from two months prior and two months after can provide context into how newspapers reported about biodegradables within the backdrop of environmental coverage. Findings produced 12 news articles which aligned with the literature about the under reportage of the environment in Nigerian newspapers. The themes uncovered were; adaptation, adverse impacts, climate change, economic, legislation, mitigation, persuasion, political and pollution themes. The prevalent themes were pollution, legislation and mitigation themes. The study recommends the need for more coverage of biodegradables bearing in mind the benefits derivable from its adoption in waste management, power generation, job creation and a sustainable development for the earth’s environment and its inhabitants.

Author Biography

Ben-Collins Emeka Ndinojuo, University of Port Harcourt

PhD, Dept. of Linguistics and Communication Studies


Abioye, O. P.; Abioye, A. A.; Afolalu, S. A. & Ongbali, S. O. & Akinlabi, S. A. (2018). A review of biodegradable plastics in Nigeria. International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Technology, 9(10), pp. 1172–1185.
Adelekan, I. O. (2009). The Nigerian press and environmental information for sustainable development. The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability, 14(4), pp. 297-312.
Aigbogun, F. (1995). It took five tries to hang Saro-Wiwa. Retrieved from
Ailemen, A. (2020). Presidency lists progress on Ogoni Clean Up. Retrieved from
Ana, G. R. (2011). Air pollution in the Niger Delta area: Scope, challenges and remedies. Retrieved from
Anejionu, O.; Ahiarammunnah, P. & Nri-ezedi, C. (2015). Hydrocarbon pollution in the Niger Delta: Geographies of impacts and appraisal of lapses in extant legal framework. Resources Policy, 45, pp. 65-77.
Babayemi, J. O. & Dauda, K. T. (2009). Evaluation of solid waste generation, categories and disposal options in developing countries: A case study of Nigeria. Journal of Applied Science and Environmental Management, 13(3), pp. 83-88.
Beder, S. (2002). Agenda setting for environmental protection policies. In S. Kerr T. Buhrs & C. Dann, (eds.), Green Governance: From Periphery to Power, pp. 22-25. Christchurch: Lincoln University.
Bokani, U.A. (2019). Current status of waste management and plastic management in Nigeria, policy & industry aspects. Federal Ministry of Environment, Abuja, NIgeria.
DeBruyn, J., Banopadhyay, S., Hayes, D., Inglis, D., & Miles, C. (2015). Biodegradation – Putting Biology to Work Performance and Adaptability: Biodegradable Mulch, Report No. SE-2015-02.
DiChristopher, T. (2016). Nigeria faces almost impossible fight against Niger Delta Avengers. Retrieved from
Dorroh, J. (2015). Environmental Reporting and Media Development: Equipping Journalists with the Training and Tools to Cover a Critical Beat. Retrieved from
Ezeoha, S.L. & Ezenwanne, J.N. (2013). Production of biodegradable plastic packaging film from cassava starch. IOSR Journal of Engineering, 3(10), pp. 14-20.
Guber, D.L. & Bosso, C.J. (2012). Issue framing, agenda setting, and environmental discourse. In M.E. Kraft, S. Kamieniecki, (eds.). The Oxford Handbook of U.S. Environmental Policy, pp. 437-460.
Goffman, E. (1974). Frame analysis: An essay on the organization of experience. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Hodal, K. (2017). Absolutely shocking: Niger Delta oil spills linked with infant deaths. Retrieved from
Hoornweg, D. & Bhada-Tata, P. (2012). What a waste: A global review of solid waste management. Washington: World Bank.
John, S. G. & Jonjua, M. (2018).Environmental Reporting in Nigerian and Indian Newspapers: A Comparative Study of Factors Influencing Coverage. International Journal of Creative Research Thoughts, 6(2), pp. 363-369.
Kadafa, A.A. (2012). Environmental impacts of oil exploration and exploitation in the Niger Delta of Nigeria. Global Journal of Science Frontier Research, 3(19), pp. 1-11.
Kingdon, J. W. (1995). Agendas, alternatives and public policies (2nd Ed.). New York: Longman.
Kriesch, A. (2015). Why Nigerian activist Ken Saro-Wiwa was executed. Retrieved from
Lasswell, H. D. (1948). The structure and function of communication in the society. L. Bryson (ed.). The Communication of Ideas, pp. 37–51. New York: Harper and Row.
Lippmann, W. (1922). Public opinion. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company.
McCombs, M. E., & Shaw, D. L. (1972). The agenda-setting function of mass media. Public Opinion Quarterly, 36(2): pp. 176-87.
Moore, M. (2020). Greta Thunberg nominated for Nobel Peace Prize. Retrieved from
Nirmala, I. & Aram, I. A. (2018). Environmental images in Indian newspapers. Asia Pacific Media Educator, 28(1) pp. 38–54
Nwajiaku-Dahou, K. (2010). The politics of amnesty in the Niger Delta : Challenges ahead. IFRI Policy Papers. Retrieved from
Nwozor, A. (2019). Depoliticizing environmental degradation: revisiting the UNEP environmental assessment of Ogoniland in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region. GeoJournal. Retrieved from
Ogadimma, E. C. & Mohamad, B. (2017). Covering environmental issues beyond climate change in Nigerian press: A Content Analysis Approach. Jurnal Liski, 3(1), pp. 1-23.
Olukanni, D. O.; Aipoh, A. O. & Kalabo, I. H. (2018). Recycling and Reuse Technology: Waste to Wealth Initiative in a Private Tertiary Institution, Nigeria. Recycling, 3(44), pp. 1-12.
Omorogbe, P. (2020). Ogoni cleanup: HYPREP’s Dekil gives 2020 update. Retrieved from
Ordinioha, B. & Brisibe, S. (2013). The human health implications of crude oil spills in the Niger Delta, Nigeria: An interpretation of published studies. Niger. Med J., 54(1), pp. 10-16.
Owolabi, T. (2017). New militant group threatens Niger Delta oil war. Retrieved from
Prasad, B. (2008). Content Analysis: a method of social science research, pp. 174-193. D. K. Lal Das (Ed.). Research Methods for Social Work. New Delhi: Rawal Publications.
Rice, X. (2009). Nigeria begins amnesty for Niger Delta militants. Retrieved from
Rochefort, D. A. & Cobb, R. W. (1994). The politics of problem definition. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas.
Song, J. H.; Davies, G. B. H.; Murphy, R. J. & Narayan, R. (2009). Biodegradable and compostable alternatives to conventional plastics. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences, 364(1526), pp. 2127–2139.
Stone, D. (1988). Policy paradox and political reason. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman, and Company.
The Guardian (2011). UN environmental assessment of Ogoniland - full report. Retrieved from
Ugochukwu, F. (2017). The Niger Delta conflict - media in an advisory capacity. International Development Seminar, Open University. Retrieved from
United Nations Environment Programme (2016). UNEP frontiers 2016 report: Emerging issues of environmental concern. New York: United Nations.
United Nations Environment Programme (2013). Embedding the Environment in Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved from
United Nations (2019) World population prospects 2019. Retrieved from
Ushie, V. (2013). Nigeria’s Amnesty Programme as a Peacebuilding Infrastructure: A Silver Bullet? Journal of Peacebuilding & Development, 8(1), pp. 30-44.
Uzochukwu, C. E.; Ekwugha, U.P. & Emmanuel, N. M. (2014). Media coverage of the environment in Nigeria: Issues and prospects. International Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities Reviews, 4(4), pp. 22 – 30.
Van den Oever, M.; Molenveld, K.; van der Zee, M. & Bos, H. (2017). Bio-based and biodegradable plastics - Facts and Figures Wageningen Food & Biobased Research, Nr. 1722, DOI
Willie, B. (2018). Army takes fight to Niger Delta militants. Retrieved from
Yuliarti, M. S. & Jatimurti, W. (2019). Media and environment: How Indonesia online news portal frames biodegradable issue? Jurnal Studi Komunikasi, 3(2). doi: 10.25139/jsk.3i2.1586.

Newspaper Articles
The Cable
The Guardian
https://leadership. ng/2019/07/21/aggregating-multi-sectoral-gain-of-fgs-proposed-ban-on-plastic-bags/.
https://leadership. ng/2019/08/01/ecobank-nigeria-removes-2m-plastic-bottles-from-lagos-streets/.
https://leadership. ng/2019/08/06/biogas-as-alternative-to-fossil-fuels/.
Premium Times
The Punch