Nigeria: “Lagos State Implements Immediate Ban on Styrofoam and Single-Use Plastics to Combat Environmental Menace”

Nigeria: “Lagos State Implements Immediate Ban on Styrofoam and Single-Use Plastics to Combat Environmental Menace”

By Ahmad Hadizat Omayoza, Mamos Nigeria

In a significant move aimed at environmental conservation, the Lagos State government has officially prohibited the use and distribution of styrofoam and other single-use plastics, effective immediately. The decision, disclosed by Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, was prompted by the detrimental impact of these plastics, particularly non-biodegradable styrofoam, on the state’s environment.

Wahab emphasized the persistent clogging of drainage channels by styrofoam, despite regular cleaning efforts by the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA). A substantial portion of litter on major roads and in markets was identified as styrofoam, further underlining the urgency of addressing the issue. Faced with such environmental desecration, the state government took a proactive stance, directing LAWMA and the Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) to enforce the ban immediately.

The commissioner justified this action by citing existing laws and regulations, including the National Environmental (Sanitation and Waste Control) Regulation of 2009 and the 2017 State Environmental Management and Protection Law. These legal frameworks empower the state to prevent activities causing harm to human health or the environment, explicitly prohibiting single-use plastics.

Wahab issued a stern warning to producers, distributors, and end-users of styrofoam, urging them to comply with the ban or face severe penalties, including fines and closure of their premises. He stressed the potential costs they might incur for the daily cleanup of their products from roads and drainage channels.

Highlighting the broader consequences of unchecked plastic usage, Wahab linked climate change, flooding, and diseases like cholera to the indiscriminate dumping of single-use plastics. In a plea to consumers and residents, he encouraged the adoption of sustainable practices, such as using reusable food containers and water bottles, as alternatives to single-use plastics.

The commissioner acknowledged the inconvenience associated with the ban but emphasized its necessity for the collective well-being of the millions of Lagosians affected by the adverse effects of plastic pollution. As the state takes this bold step, Wahab called on individuals to make small sacrifices for the greater good, reinforcing the message that the convenience of single-use plastics comes at a significant societal cost.

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