The Lagos Waste Management Authority, (LAWMA) and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), have met to discuss ways of implementing sustainable waste management strategies, following the recent ban on usage of styrofoam packs in the state.
Addressing the stakeholders, managing director/CEO of LAWMA, Dr. Muyiwa Gbadegesin reiterated the Authority’s commitment to the Lagos State Government’s T.H.E.M.E.S Plus agenda, stressing that the state government had to ban styrofoam to protect the environment and safeguard public health.
He said: “It is necessary to establish that lack of access to a good environment, lack of awareness about the dangers of some of the items we make use of to consume food causes a lot of damage to our health. It is high time we faced the reality and choose only what is right and healthy for the people. Here in LAWMA, we are open to collaborations as long as it is for the good of the people, we will continue to support the Lagos State Government’s effort at entrenching policies that promote environmental sustainability and public health”, he noted.
“It is not right to place narrow business interest of a few individuals above the larger challenge of public interest. So styrofoam has to go”, he concluded.
Earlier in his opening address, the immediate past chairman of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Engr. Frank Onyegbu, noted that the meeting was convened to be on the same page with the Lagos State government on matters of the environment, adding that a bold step was being taken by the association in providing alternatives, with the current implementation of the ban of Styrofoam products.
He said: “To ensure that we are not caught up with the current situation in future, we will not wait till the government announces further ban on other products we are manufacturing. To achieve this, we will take a cursory look at how our products affect the environment and make adjustments, where necessary.
“Going forward, with the present leadership of LAWMA, we are optimistic of a quality partnership with the Authority. We will work together with them to ensure we achieve a cleaner and healthier Lagos”, Onyegbu added.
The meeting had in attendance, management staff of LAWMA, representatives of plastic production companies in Lagos and members of MAN.
In a related development, the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tokunbo Wahab hosted representatives of the National Association of Supermarkets and Operators of Nigeria (NASON), where he noted that the ban on styrofoam packs should be viewed from the larger picture of public interest.
He stated further that Abia State had also banned styrofoam packs, underscoring the inherent dangers it posed, adding that the decision to ban styrofoam and other single-use plastics, had been taken at the National Council on Environment in 2021, with a three-year window for commencement of enforcement in 2024.
The Commissioner averred that at the expiration of the current three-week window given to distributors and sellers to mop the products in circulation, the state would commence enforcement of the ban, promising that it would 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, adding that there would be windows for deliberations with all stakeholders before a total phase-out.
Wahab also urged manufacturers to be more innovative about coming up with substitutes to single-use plastics just as many countries including the massively populated India, have successfully done away with styrofoam, despite its reputation of being the country with the largest concentration of eating-out points.
It will be recalled that the Lagos State government recently banned the use and production of styrofoam packs, due to its immense adverse effects on the environment.