Plastic ban: Rhodes-Vivour knocks Sanwo-Olu’s govt, warns against destroying livelihoods

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Sanwo-Olu and Rhodes-Vivour

The 2023 gubernatorial candidate of Labour Party (LP) in Lagos, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, has faulted the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration’s ban on the use and distribution of Styrofoam and other single-use plastics across the state.

Lagos State Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, announced the ban in a statement he posted on Sunday.

“Following the menace which single-use plastics especially non-biodegradable Styrofoam are causing on the environment, the Lagos State government through the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources is hereby announcing a ban on the usage and distribution of Styrofoam and other single-use plastics in the State with immediate effect,” Wahab said.

In a statement on Monday, Rhodes-Vivour berated the state government for making “hasty” decisions.

“While I acknowledge the importance of addressing environmental concerns and the impact of plastic pollution in Lagos, I find the sudden implementation of this ban without a well-thought-out alternative policy deeply troubling,” he said in the statement shared on X.

The architect-turned-politician said this decision lacks consideration for the significant investments made by manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers of these products, potentially causing severe economic implications.

“Did the government care to think about what would happen to the thousands of retailers and small business owners, from Idumota to Oshodi and Ojota, whose livelihoods are tied to this product?

“Did it think about the potential loss of jobs and the utter devastation it would bring to manufacturers?” he asked.

“It has become evident that this administration and the party it represents lacks the temperament to accommodate stakeholder engagements and the discipline to create meaningful policies to address critical issues without destroying the livelihood of citizens.

“I believe that a more sustainable and phased-out approach should be adopted to address the environmental challenges posed by single-use plastics,” Rhodes-Vivour said.

He urged the state government to consider alternative policy measures like education and awareness programs, by launching comprehensive public awareness campaigns to educate citizens on the environmental impact of single-use plastics and encourage responsible consumption and disposal.

Other measures, he said, include, “Incentives for Alternatives – Provide incentives and support for businesses to transition to environmentally friendly alternatives such as biodegradable materials and reusable packaging.

“Recycling Infrastructure – Invest in robust recycling infrastructure to facilitate the collection and proper disposal of plastic waste.

“Regulate the pricing of plastic bottles – Ensure that plastic bottles are priced (N5 – N10 per bottle) as that will provide the needed incentive for citizens to properly dispose these plastics and earn a tangible amount.

“Extended Producer Responsibility – Implement EPR policies to hold producers accountable for the entire life cycle of their products, encouraging sustainable practices.

“Collaboration with Stakeholders – Engage stakeholders, including manufacturers, retailers, environmental experts, and community representatives, to develop a holistic and inclusive strategy.

“Therefore, I urge the Lagos state government and the reactionary commissioner of environment to reconsider the abrupt ban and collaborate with stakeholders to develop a more comprehensive and sustainable approach to address the issue of plastic pollution in Lagos State.”

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