nvironmentalists say the ban on styrofoam and single-use plastics by the Lagos State Government will lead to clean environment, urging the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to ensure its full implementation.

The experts said the ban showed that the government was aware of the degradation those materials caused to the environment and also had interest in cleaning up the environment.

The Lagos State Government recently announced a ban on the usage and distribution of styrofoam and other single-use plastics in the state with immediate effect.

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A statement signed by the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, said the decision was reached following the menace that single-use plastics, especially the non-biodegradable styrofoam, were causing harm to the environment.

He added that most drainage channels in the state are daily clogged up by styrofoams through their indiscriminate distribution and usage despite the regular cleaning and evacuation of the drains with humongous amounts.

Reacting to the ban, environmentalists, who spoke with PUNCH Healthwise in different interviews, said the ban is a welcome development but its implementation should be paramount.

An environmentalist and the founder of the ‘Rite-On-The-Beach’ Initiative, Akintunde Disu, said, “This is a great move by the government and this shows that the government is aware of the degradation it has caused to the environment. The government has shown to be proactive in cleaning the environment.

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“However, we will wait to see how it will be implemented because there are things that should be tackled alongside. The government hasn’t banned the production of Styrofoam, or ban the importation of Styrofoam and distribution of Styrofoam. Also, when you talk about single-use plastics, they are more than Styrofoam.

“So this is quite confusing and we wait to see how they are going to implement it. But by and large, it is a great move on the side of the government. It shows that their mind is in the right place. Styrofoam has been so disruptive to our environment, ecosystem, and wildlife – the birds, and the fish.

“It’s a step in the right direction. I am happy because we have been advocating for this for a long time. Styrofoam is difficult to recycle anywhere and in Nigeria, it cannot be recycled. It is broken down quickly into microplastics which these organisms eat.

“Taking these materials out of the food chain, and system is the best outcome anyone will wish for. We hope the government can implement and end this menace in the environment. Lagos is a city with an estimated 20 million people and it is a city without any portable water and a city with a dearth of infrastructure and we are in the tropics.

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“So, it is incredibly difficult to imagine us living our lives without plastics. Plastics are the most convenient way for most people to get their potable water, carry their goods around, and store their goods. So, it is very difficult to implement this even as we are also a petrol nation.

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“So, it’s very difficult to think of banning plastic outright. I do not think a ban on plastics outright is a way to go or think. What we should be talking about is banning things that cannot be recycled. In banning things like that, we should be thinking about the secular economy; we should be thinking about the full life cycle of products before bringing them in.

“Before we bring in anything, we should think about how and where it is going to end up. If it cannot be recycled in this city, then it cannot be brought in. We cannot think about plastics as waste, it is very valuable.

“We make our money from petrol and plastic from crude oil. I, therefore, think that Lagos should be looking at a secular economy, not a linear economy. Things that have a linear lifespan like styrofoam, should be banned immediately. But things that can go into the secular economy should be viewed differently.”

Also speaking, an environmental activist and founding partner, of Dawn Project Initiative, Desmond Majekodunmi, said these materials cause wanton damage to the environment, saying that Styrofoam has been banned in many other countries of the world.

“It is a good move by the government and we also want to see the full implementation of the ban to save our environment because our environment is full of toxins. When you go to our water bodies, you will see all these and they are affecting aquatic life.

“You see them in water drains clogging everywhere. They are overwhelming. So if the government will indeed, implement it not to be like others ones we had in the past, it will be fine and good. It’s worth it,” he added.