The Lagos State Government has announced a ban on the usage and distribution of styrofoam and other single use plastics within the metropolis with immediate effect.
This is contained in a statement by Mr Tokunbo Wahab, Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, on Sunday in Lagos.
Wahab said the decision was reached following the menace single use plastics, especially the non-biodegradable styrofoam, was causing on the environment.
According to him, most drainage channels in the state are daily clogged up by styrofoam, through its indiscriminate distribution and use in spite of the regular cleaning and evacuation of the drains with humongous amounts.
He stressed that the larger chunk of litter across major roads and markets, which the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) contends with daily, was made up of styrofoams.
The commissioner added that the state government would not fold its hands and watch the continued desecration of its environment, especially for a coastal city.
Wahab directed LAWMA and the Kick Against Indiscipline to commence the immediate implementation of the ban.
He also directed the two agencies to clampdown on all the production companies and distribution outlets for styrofoam in the state, to prevent further distribution.
He 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.
Wahab warned that they could also be made to bear the costs of the daily cleanup of their products from the roads and drainage channels, which ran into into 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 wastes.
“If government does not take action, the well-known consequences of climate change, flooding and diseases like cholera, would consume the state.”
He urged 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.”