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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 backed up with an enabling law, to regulate plastic utility and ensure sustainable management of plastic waste.

A statement signed by the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello, ascertained that the government will also put in place a strategy for identifying and disseminating sustainable plastic waste management knowledge to the public.

Bello said the strategy will outline modalities for disseminating plastic waste management knowledge to all stakeholders, through private and public sector communication channels, in user-friendly formats.

He observed that plastic waste materials make up a significant proportion of solid wastes and litter in Lagos State, adding that PET, Styrofoam and nylon commonly used for water and beverages, take away plates and cups, carrier bags etc. have become a highly visible part of the waste stream.

According to him, this development is posing environmental challenges ranging from Ecosystem-degradation, Drainage clogging and flooding, Lagoon and Ocean debris with attendant harm resulting in high socio-economic impacts on the State.

The Commissioner maintained 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 it is a resource that can be managed to achieve economic, social and environmental benefits.

Noting that sustainable plastic waste management will create value from the waste stream and formalise the waste-pickers’ sector to improve livelihoods, Bello said the initiative will reduce pressure on landfill, improve the situation of the State’s drainage channels and reduce plastic pollution in the marine environment.

He affirmed that effective waste management is fundamental to the government’s transformation agenda, identifying the cause of environmental challenges as poor management of plastic waste that enters the environment through open dumping, open burning, and disposal in waterways.

While emphasising the need to involve the private sector in the initiative, the Commissioner said, “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 waste collection, transportation, building and operation of treatment plants, waste recovery and recycling,” he revealed.

Bello averred that governments all over the world have adopted various measures to control plastic waste that gets into the environment by either banning its sale or imposing taxes on stores that sell plastic products, citing the example of Bangladesh which imposed a total ban on lightweight plastic bags since 2002.

He stressed further that between 2010 and 2019, the number of public policies intended to phase out plastic carrier bags tripled, disclosing that by August 2019 bans had been introduced in 70 countries with varying degrees of enforcement, whilst 33 countries imposed a charge per bag policy.

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