In view of the increasing prevalence of plastic waste and its negative effect on the environment in recent years, the Lagos State Government is set to put in place policy guidelines for plastic utility to ensure sustainable management of plastic waste
The policy guideline will also be backed up with appropriate legal framework to be established through an enabling law.
According to a statement signed by the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tunji Bello, made available to Tribune Online, the government will also put in place a strategy for identifying and disseminating sustainable plastic waste management knowledge to the public.
Continuing, he said the strategy would also disseminate plastic waste management knowledge to others including stakeholders in user-friendly formats and also incorporate sustainable plastic waste management knowledge into government implemented public awareness initiatives.
He stressed that plastic waste materials make up a significant proportion of solid wastes and litter in Lagos State adding that it has become a highly visible part of the waste stream (PET, Styrofoam and nylon commonly being used for water and beverages, take away plates and cups, carrier bags and others).
According to him, this development is posing environmental challenges ranging from ecosystems degradation, drainage clogging, flooding, the littering of the lagoon with ocean debris, with attendant harm to humans, resulting in high socio-economic impacts on the state.
He said that effective plastic waste management is fundamental to the delivery of the state government’s priority transformational agenda as laid down in Lagos State Development Plan (LSDP) because plastic waste management is a resource that can be managed to achieve economic, social and environmental benefits.
He added that sustainable plastic waste management will create value from the waste stream and formalise the waste-pickers’ sector to improve livelihoods and reduce the pressure on landfills. He added that it will improve the situation of the State’s drainage channels and reduce plastic pollution in the marine environment.
Bello identified the cause of the menace to poor management of plastic waste that enters the environment through open dumping, open burning, and disposal in waterways.
The commissioner said that there will be state guidelines for plastic utility to ensure sustainable management of plastic waste with appropriate legal framework established through a law with provisions for the continuous implementation of the policy.
Bello said the government will also put in place a strategy for identifying and disseminating sustainable plastic waste management knowledge to the public and other stakeholders in user-friendly formats
The state will also incorporate sustainable plastic waste management knowledge into government implemented public awareness initiatives, Bello explained.
“As a responsible and responsive government, we will strictly be observant of the principle of partnership and citizens’ buy-in.
“Private sector participation in plastic waste management activities will include but not limited to waste collection, transportation, building and operation of treatment plants, waste recovery and recycling,” he revealed.
The commissioner said that governments all over the world have taken action to control the volume of plastic waste that gets into the environment by either banning the sale, charging customers or generating taxes from the stores that sell plastic products.
He stated that the Bangladesh government was the first to do so in 2002, imposing a total ban on lightweight plastic bags.
He stressed further that between 2010 and 2019, the number of public policies intended to phase out plastic carrier bags tripled. As of August 1, 2019, such bans have been introduced in 70 countries, with varying degrees of enforcement, whilst 33 countries imposed a charge per bag policy.
He stated further that the policy will move the state towards realisation of the Zero Waste principle, whereby waste generation is minimised or prevented.