• Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Lagos State Maintains Unwavering Commitment To Styrofoam Ban

In a resolute stance, the Lagos State Government has affirmed its unwavering commitment to the total ban on the usage and distribution of Styrofoam within the state. This affirmation came during a consultative meeting held on Thursday at the Alausa Secretariat, bringing together representatives of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and the Restaurant and Food Services Proprietor Association of Nigeria (REFSPAN).

Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, reiterated the gravity of the environmental and health concerns associated with Styrofoam usage. Wahab emphasized that the state has already endured significant damage to the well-being of its residents and the environment due to the prolonged use of Styrofoam.

During the meeting, Wahab announced that the state is willing to offer a moratorium, allowing producers and distributors three additional weeks before the enforcement of the ban begins. He asserted that this grace period should provide ample time for existing Styrofoam stock to be exhausted, emphasizing the commitment required from all stakeholders.

Wahab pointed out that the decision to ban Styrofoam had been communicated over three years ago, highlighting the prolonged delay in enforcement. He underscored the urgency of the situation, stating, “For over 3 years, this conversation has been ongoing, waiting for when the big bold step of enforcement will be taken.”

The Commissioner stressed the immeasurable impact of Styrofoam on lives, the ecosystem, and aquatic environments. He emphasized that residents’ well-being takes precedence over commercial interests, stating that the appeal to postpone the ban is akin to prolonging the ingestion of poison for the sake of financial gains.

Highlighting the irresponsible behavior of producers who have neglected environmental impact assessments before production, Wahab urged the stakeholders to recognize the necessity of the ban. He asserted that tough decisions are integral to leadership and governance, underscoring the state’s commitment to a healthier and environmentally sustainable future.

Permanent Secretary, Office of Environmental Services, Dr. Gaji Omobolaji Tajudeen, emphasized the non-recyclable nature of Styrofoam and its hazardous impact on wildlife. Dr. Muyiwa Gbadegeshin, Managing Director of LAWMA, added that the clogging of drainage channels by Styrofoam poses both environmental and health risks, making the ban an imperative step.

Representatives of MAN and REFSPAN, Okpe Sunday and Olaoye Kazeem, pleaded for leniency and requested time to utilize existing stock before the enforcement of the ban. The government has granted a three-week moratorium, urging all stakeholders to cooperate in the transition away from Styrofoam. The broader conversation about the ban on other single-use plastics will also continue until a viable solution is achieved.

Hyacinth Beluchukwu Nwafor

Hyacinth Beluchukwu Nwafor is a seasoned journalist and the CEO/Founder Belch Digital Communications, publishers of Hybrid News Nigeria.

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