The Lagos State Government has announced a total ban on the usage and distribution of Styrofoam popularly called take away pack and other single use plastics in the State with immediate effect.
This was announced by the State Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab in a statement he personally signed on Sunday.
According to Wahab, the decision was reached following the menace which the single use plastics especially the non-biogradeable Styrofoam was causing on the environment.
He added that most drainage channels in the state are daily clogged up by Styrofoam and other plastics 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 litterings across major roads and markets which LAWMA contends with daily is made up of styro foams.
The Commissioner added that the State Government cannot fold its hands and watch the continued desecration of its environment especially for a coastal city.
Mr Wahab has subsequently directed the State Waste Management Authority (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 relied on enabling laws like the National Environmental (Sanitation and Waste Control) Regulation 2009 which was established pursuant to NESREA Act that prohibited and specifically ban 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 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 stated.
He adviced 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 the society. We must all make small sacrifices for our collective well-being”, Wahab pleaded.
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