The Nigerian state of Lagos has implemented an immediate ban on styrofoam and single-use plastics in response to the environmental challenges posed by indiscriminate distribution and usage which has significantly impacted the state's drainage systems and wider ecosystem for decades.
Lagos State Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab highlighted the issue of the state's drainage channels being clogged by single-use plastics, despite regular cleaning efforts.
Wahab directed the State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) and the Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) to promptly implement the ban. Both agencies are instructed to crackdown on production companies and distribution outlets for styrofoam to prevent further environmental degradation.
In a press release, The commissioner cited enabling laws, including the National Environmental (Sanitation and Waste Control) Regulation 2009 and the 2017 State Environmental Management and Protection Law, as the foundation for the ban.
Producers, distributors, and end-users failing to comply face heavy fines, premises sealing, and potential costs for the cleanup of their products.
Wahab stressed the severe consequences of single-use plastics, such as climate change, flooding, and diseases like cholera. Emphasising collective responsibility, he urged consumers and residents to boycott styrofoam and single-use plastics, advocating for reusable alternatives for food containers and water bottles.
The commissioner asserted the state's commitment to prioritising environmental well-being over economic interests, particularly those of a few wealthy business owners. He underscored the millions of Lagosians affected by the indiscriminate dumping of single-use plastics.
Wahab pleaded for collective sacrifice for the greater good, emphasising the high societal cost of the convenience associated with single-use plastics. The ban aligns with a broader strategy to address climate change and foster a healthier, more sustainable future for Lagos State.
According to a report by the World Economic Forum, Nigeria was estimated to have discharged around 200,000 tonnes of plastic waste into the ocean per year by 2018, with its annual plastics production projected to grow to 523,000 tonnes by 2022.