Lagos State Government has announced a ban on the usage and distribution of Styrofoam and other single-use plastics in the state with immediate effect.
This was announced by the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab in a statement he personally signed on January 21.
According to Wahab, the decision was reached following the menace the single-use plastics especially the non-biodegradable Styrofoam were causing on the environment.
He added that most drainage channels in the state are daily clogged up by Styrofoam through its indiscriminate distribution and usage despite the regular cleaning and evacuation of the drains with humongous amounts.
He reiterated that the larger chunk of littering across major roads and markets which Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) contends with daily is made up of styrofoam.
The Commissioner added that the State Government cannot fold its hands and watch the continued desecration of its environment especially for a coastal city. He has subsequently directed LAWMA and the Kick Against Indiscipline to immediately commence the implementation of the ban.
He asked two agencies to clamp down on all the production companies and distribution outlets for Styrofoam in the state to prevent further distribution.
Wahab explained that the state took the present action, relying on several enabling laws and regulations such as the National Environmental (Sanitation and Waste Control) Regulation 2009 which was established pursuant to the NESREA Act that prohibited and specifically banned single-use plastic in the country but has not been enforced.
Other laws, according to Wahab, include the 2017 State Environmental Management and Protection Law which states under section 56(I) (y) “prevent, stop or discontinue any activity or omission, which is likely to cause harm or has caused harm to human health or the environment.
The Commissioner advised producers, distributors, and end-users of these styrofoam packs to take the ban seriously and find alternatives or risk heavy fines, and other penalties including the sealing of their premises.
He warned that they could also be made to bear the costs of the daily cleanup of their products from our roads and drainage channels which runs into tens of millions of naira daily.
“Our state cannot be held hostage to the economic interests of a few wealthy business owners compared to the millions of Lagosians suffering the consequences of indiscriminate dumping of single-use plastics and other types of waste” he said
According to Wahab, the well-known consequences include climate change, flooding, and diseases like cholera.
He advised Consumers and residents to boycott styrofoam packs and single-use plastics while imbibing the practice of using reusable food containers and water bottles for their food and drinks.
“The convenience of single-use plastic comes at a huge cost to society. We must all make small sacrifices for our collective well-being”, Wahab pleaded.