The Lagos State Government has reiterated its commitment to the total ban on styrofoam and single-use plastics, dismissing appeals from the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and Restaurant and Food Services Proprietor Association of Nigeria (REFSPAN). The decision was emphasized by the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, during a consultative meeting with the industry representatives at the Alausa Secretariat, Ikeja.
Wahab emphasized the severe health and environmental damage caused by styrofoam, citing the loss of lives, ecosystem destruction, and harm to aquatic life. The ban was initially declared over three years ago, and Wahab asserted that the time for enforcement has come. While acknowledging the economic considerations, the commissioner stated that the lives of residents take precedence over commercial interests.
The state is offering a three-week moratorium for producers and distributors to deplete existing stock before the ban’s total enforcement. Wahab noted that this grace period is an opportunity for committed stockists to fulfill their inventory.
Dr. Gaji Tajudeen, the Permanent Secretary, Office of Environmental Services, highlighted the non-recyclable nature of styrofoam, its long-lasting environmental impact, and the hazards it poses to wildlife. Dr. Muyiwa Gbadegeshin, Managing Director of the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LWMA), emphasized the urgency of removing styrofoam from drainage channels due to its threat to public health.
While representatives from MAN and REFSPAN, Okpe Sunday and Olaoye Kazeem, pleaded for leniency and additional time to use existing stock, the state government remains resolute in implementing the ban. The decision aims to address the environmental challenges posed by styrofoam and encourages responsible production practices.
The ban aligns with Lagos State’s broader efforts to create a sustainable and eco-friendly environment. The conversation regarding other types of single-use plastics will continue as the government works toward a comprehensive solution leading to their potential ban.