No going back on styrofoam products ban- Lagos govt.

Plastic waste
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By Fabian Ekeruche

The Lagos State Government has affirmed its unwavering commitment to enforcing a comprehensive ban on the usage and distribution of styrofoam within the state.

The Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tokunbo Wahab, said this at a consultative meeting with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and Restaurant and Food Services Proprietors Association of Nigeria (REFSPAN), on Thursday in Lagos.

Wahab underscored the extensive damage inflicted upon both public health and the environment due to the prevalent use of styrofoam in the state.

Speaking at the meeting, he conveyed the state’s stance on offering a “soft landing” to all producers and distributors, allowing a three-week grace period before enforcing the ban.

This temporary reprieve is deemed adequate for existing styrofoam stock in the state to be depleted, contingent upon the commitment of stockists.

Highlighting the prolonged nature of the deliberation, Wahab reminded attendees that the initial pronouncement of the styrofoam ban was made over three years ago, yet enforcement had been delayed.

He emphasised the gravity of the situation by pointing out the incalculable loss of lives, destruction of ecosystems, and harm to aquatic life caused by styrofoam usage.

Wahab stressed that residents’ lives took precedence over producers’ profits in the ongoing battle against the environmental menace.

He likened the manufacturers’ appeal to a request for people to endure poison for an extended period, merely to mitigate commercial losses.

Underscoring the havoc wreaked by styrofoam products, particularly during and after the rainy season, he placed responsibility on producers, suggesting that government intervention would have been unnecessary if they had adhered to existing regulations.

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The commissioner emphasised the humane aspect of the ban, with the government granting a three-week moratorium to producers and entrepreneurs in the hospitality sector.

He urged them to acknowledge the necessity of making tough decisions in leadership and governance. Additionally, Wahab called attention to producers’ societal responsibility, noting the absence of environmental impact assessments before the commencement of styrofoam production for public use.

Dr Gaji Tajudeen, the Permanent Secretary of the Office of Environmental Services, supported the ban, citing the menace caused by styrofoam in the environment.

He highlighted the non-recyclable nature of the product, asserting that it would persist unchanged for a century and posed threats to wildlife, as animals often mistake it for food.

Dr Muyiwa Gbadegeshin, the Managing Director of the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), expressed concern over the environmental impact of styrofoam packs clogging drainage channels.

He emphasised the danger to human health posed by the plastic product, deeming it irresponsible for the government to idly watch the costly clearance of packs from various drain systems.

Representatives from MAN and REFSPAN, Mr Okpe Sunday and Mr Olaoye Kazeem, respectively, pleaded for leniency and requested time to utilise existing stock before the ban’s strict enforcement.

This critical decision by the Lagos State Government was officially announced on January 21, 2024, involving an immediate ban on the use and distribution of styrofoam and other single-use plastics. (NAN)(

Edited by Dianabasi Effiong/Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma

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