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WE HAVE SCALED UP ADVOCACY ON DANGERS OF USING STYROFOAM – LASG

Lagos State Government on Tuesday stated that it has scaled up advocacy campaigns across different levels on the dangers inherent in the use of styrofoam as well as accelerated behavioural change amongst Lagosians.

The Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tokunbo Wahab made this known when he hosted representatives of the National Association of Supermarkets and Operators of Nigeria (NASON), adding that the ban on Styrofoams should be looked at in terms of the larger picture to all residents.

He said the advocacy campaign is to ensure that the message is passed to all segments of society on why they should embrace the ban and called for the support of the association and their members, insisting that there is no going back on the ban and that it is already having a bandwagon effect.

Wahab stated further that Abia State has also announced a ban on using Styrofoam, underscoring the inherent dangers it poses to human and environmental health. He reiterated that the decision to ban Styrofoam and other single-use plastics was taken at the National Council on Environment in 2021 with a window of three years for enforcement to commence in 2024.

The Commissioner averred that at the expiration of the three-week window given to distributors and sellers to mop the products in circulation, the state will commence enforcement of the ban, promising that the enforcement will be carried out in a civil but firm manner.

He submitted that all other single-use plastics (SUPs)  would be banned before the year ends. Still, there would be windows for deliberations with all stakeholders before they are phased out, saying that the representatives should endeavour to ensure that the information is well communicated to their members.

Wahab also urged manufacturers to be more innovative about coming up with substitutes to single-use plastics just as major countries including the massively populated India have successfully done away with Styrofoam despite its reputation as the country with the largest concentration of eating-out points.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner while appearing as a Guest Speaker on a popular TV programme, stressed that officials of Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI), the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources and LAWMA are currently engaged in educating/enlightening the masses on the need to transit from the use of Styrofoam to multiple use containers.

“As a result of the continuous usage of Styrofoam, the disruption of our ecosystem is beyond imagination, the disruption of aquatic and human health implication is enormous; without enforcement, it is as though pushing the doomsday and kicking the can down the road”, he said.

Wahab further emphasised that now is the time for the government to choose between the interest of 22 million people and the interest of very few business people who are out to make a profit bearing in mind that a major element used in the production of Styrofoam is a primary cause of cancer in the human body.

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