Lagos State Government has taken a significant step towards environmental sustainability by announcing a ban on single-use plastics, including Styrofoam.
The decision, declared by the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, is driven by concerns about the environmental impact of these materials, particularly non-biodegradable styrofoam.
The careless use of single-use plastics has consistently led to clogged drainage channels and increased litter on roads and in marketplaces, posing threats to the environment and public health.
The ban aligns with existing regulations, including the National Environmental (Sanitation and Waste Control) Regulation 2009. Despite the presence of such regulations, enforcement has been lacking, necessitating more stringent measures. The State Environmental Management and Protection Law of 2017 empower authorities to intervene in activities causing harm to human health or the environment.
The government emphasizes the need for action against styrofoam manufacturing and distribution companies to curb environmental degradation. While considering economic interests, the primary goal is to protect Lagosians affected by plastic pollution, which contributes to climate change, flooding, and diseases like cholera.
A World Bank report highlights the alarming plastic waste generation in West African countries, with Nigeria alone accounting for 4.7 million tons per year. The sub-Saharan region is projected to accumulate 116 million tonnes of plastic waste annually by 2060 if the current trend persists. Nigeria, generating over 32 million tons of solid waste yearly, faces significant environmental degradation due to inadequate waste management infrastructure.
Residents are urged to adopt eco-friendly practices, such as using reusable containers, to mitigate the harmful consequences of plastic disposal.
Lagos State’s ban on single-use plastics is lauded as a commendable step towards environmental sustainability, reflecting a global awareness of the adverse effects of these materials on the planet. The call for collective action underscores the importance of making small sacrifices in convenience for the greater well-being of society.
In Africa, over 34 countries have imposed a ban on single-use plastics.