Plastic in Nigeria

Lagos State Bans Single Use Plastic,

Lagos State Governor, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, has the announcement of a ban on single-use plastic and styrofoam in the Nigerian State.

Greenpeace Africa’s Pan-African Plastic Project Lead, Hellen Kahaso Dena, said:

“We commend Nigeria’s Lagos State for taking a decisive step towards environmental sustainability by banning styrofoam and other single-use plastics. This is a positive signal that Nigeria is committed to addressing critical environmental issues and contributing to a sustainable future alongside other African nations.”

Plastics significantly contribute to the triple planetary crisis: climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss. Plastic pollution is a serious global threat that harms human health and the planet and is more profound in less wealthy nations where waste management systems are inefficient or scarce.

Like Lagos State, Cameroon banned single-use plastic in 2014, but the ban has not been implemented, and the situation is worse.  The plastic business is booming, with vendors roaming the streets of Yaounde with plastic of different colors and sizes. Thus, the question of implementing the ban remains a challenge.

It is against this backdrop that, while commending this crucial decision, Dena warned that enforcing the ban and turning around the existing damage was a monumental task. “We urge the Lagos state government to not only enforce the ban effectively but also to strengthen policies and regulations concerning plastics,” she said.

Street vendors and markets in Lagos often use styrofoam containers for food and produce packaging. These have been associated with health risks for consumers, and their inadequate disposal has choked the city with littered roads and blocked drains, increasing flood risks and threats to biodiversity.

“We call upon the government to incentivize producers to adopt affordable, sustainable alternatives to styrofoam and other single-use plastics. It is only by providing support that the government can make sustainable alternatives to the popular but harmful products that people rely on every day,” Dena concluded.

At least 34 African countries have an existing ban or laws restricting the use of plastics. In most instances, the enforcement of bans remains a challenge.

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