Lagos postpones enforcement of single-use plastics ban

THE Lagos State Government has given dealers in styrofoam and other single-use plastics a three-week grace, after which a ban on the product will be enforced.

Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources Tokunbo Wahab made this known in a statement via his official X handle on Thursday, January 25.

“As a responsible government, the lives of the residents are far more important than the profit producers set to make for the continuous production of styrofoam.

“The only moratorium that the state is willing to offer all producers and distributors of styrofoam is to delay the commencement of enforcement of the ban by three weeks, after which the government will go on full enforcement of the law,” Wahab noted.

The state government announced an immediate ban on styrofoam and other single-use plastics on Sunday, January 21, citing environmental and health concerns as reasons for the ban.

Through its commissioner, Wahab, the state Ministry of Environment and Water Resource disclosed that the products had become a menace to the ecosystem, especially during the rainy season.

Styrofoam is made of styrene, a petroleum-based product used to manufacture food containers.

    In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified styrene as a probable carcinogen. This means that there is a probability of increased risk of cancer associated with the use of the product.

    Wahab said there was no going back on the ban, and though there had been a previous prohibition on using styrofoam in the state, it would be banned by the government.

    “The havoc and destruction caused to public utility by single-use plastics during and after the rainy season is unimaginable. If the producers had been responsible enough to respect the law, the government would not have had to wade into the matter.

    “The number of lives that have been lost through the effect of the use of styrofoam, the destruction of the ecosystem and aquatic lives, as well as the menace brought upon the environment, cannot be quantified,” Wahab noted.

    Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via [email protected] or @ije_le on Twitter.

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