The 2023 governorship candidate for the Labour Party, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, has faulted the Lagos State Government’s sudden ban on single-use plastics and styrofoam packs.
On Sunday, the Lagos State Government banned the use and distribution of single-use plastics and styrofoam packs in the state.
The Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab announced the ban in a statement released on Sunday by the ministry’s Director of Public Affairs, Kunle Adeshina.
However, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour via a post on X on Monday noted that while addressing environmental concerns is important, the ‘abrupt’ ban could severely impact manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers.
Rhodes-Vivour said the decision did not consider investments made in the plastics value chain or potential economic implications.
Rhodes-Vivour said, “While I acknowledge the importance of addressing environmental concerns and the impact of plastic pollution in Lagos, I find the sudden implementation of this ban without a well-thought-out alternative policy deeply troubling.
“This decision lacks consideration for the significant investments made by manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers of these products, potentially causing severe economic implications.
“Did the government care to think about what would happen to the thousands of retailers and small business owners, from Idumota to Oshodi and Ojota, whose livelihoods are tied to this product?”
According to him, the move shows a lack of stakeholder engagement and policy discipline by the state government.
Rhodes-Vivour proposed alternative policy measures like public education, incentives for eco-friendly alternatives, improved recycling and extended producer responsibility.
“Rather than an immediate ban, we propose the following alternative policy measures.
“Education and Awareness Programmes. Launch comprehensive public awareness campaigns to educate citizens on the environmental impact of single-use plastics and encourage responsible consumption and disposal.
“Incentives for Alternatives Provide incentives and support for businesses to transition to environmentally friendly alternatives such as biodegradable materials and reusable packaging.
“Recycling Infrastructure Invest in robust recycling infrastructure to facilitate the collection and proper disposal of plastic waste.
“Regulate the pricing of plastic bottles Ensure that plastic bottles are priced (N5 – N10 per bottle) as that will provide the needed incentive for citizens to properly dispose of these plastics and earn a tangible amount.
“Extended Producer Responsibility Implement EPR policies to hold producers accountable for the entire life cycle of their products, encouraging sustainable practices.
“Collaboration with Stakeholders Engage stakeholders, including manufacturers, retailers, environmental experts, and community representatives, to develop a holistic and inclusive strategy.”
He advocated a more sustainable, phased approach instead of an immediate blanket ban.
“I urge the Lagos state government and the reactionary commissioner of the environment to reconsider the abrupt ban and collaborate with stakeholders to develop a more comprehensive and sustainable approach to address the issue of plastic pollution in Lagos State.
“Lagos will benefit from a more holistic waste management plan that incentivises Local govts to treat waste as wealth. By introducing and enabling biodegradable alternatives and giving manufacturers a timeline to switch, we get better stakeholder buy-in and adoption,” he said.