The Lagos State Government has reiterated its stance on the complete prohibition of the usage and distribution of styrofoam and single-use plastics, emphasizing that there is no room for reconsideration.
According to recent news reports, the Lagos State Government has banned the usage and distribution of styrofoam and other single-use plastics with immediate effect . The ban has been welcomed by environmentalists as a positive step towards reducing waste and carbon emissions . However, some critics have questioned the feasibility of an immediate ban on such commonly used products, especially for businesses .
Nigerian fast-food chain Food Concepts has “applauded” the measure and is “beginning its transition” to end polystyrene boxes and encouraging its customers “to come with their own containers” . Chicken Republic, another fast-food chain, has advised customers to bring their own plates if interested in buying food to go .
According to the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, the state is offering all producers and distributors of styrofoam a three-week moratorium to delay the commencement of total enforcement of the ban . Wahab stressed that the pronouncement on styrofoam ban was placed over three years ago, but no one has summoned the courage to enforce the law till now . He said the number of lives that have been lost through the effect of the use of styrofoam, the destruction of the ecosystem and aquatic lives as well as the menace brought upon the environment cannot be quantified . “The lives of the residents is far more important than the profit producers set aside for the continuous production of styrofoam.
“The rippling effect of styrofoam on the health care system is enormous, therefore, the appeal by manufacturers to put the ban on hold is like wanting people to take poison”
The decision to ban the product was reached following the menace caused by the use of styrofoam in the environment. Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Office of Environmental Services, Dr. Gaji Tajudeen, also noted that “the product is not recyclable, and will remain the same after 100 of years.
Styrofoam is hazardous to wild and aquatic life and animals often mistake them for food”. The Managing Director of Lagos State Waste Management Authority, LWMA, Dr. Muyiwa Gbadegeshin, added that the State Government can no longer continue to watch the styrofoam pack clog the drainage channels bearing in mind that the particular plastic product is hazardous to human health. “It will be irresponsible for the government to sit and fold its hands because the cost of clearing those packs from tertiary, secondary, and primary drains is very expensive,” he added.