The Lagos State Government on Saturday advised residents on the need to reduce single-use plastics and encourage reusable ones which are eco-friendly and devoid of environmental nuisance.

The Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tokunbo Wahab made this known during the commemoration of the Year 2023 Walk for Nature exercise held at the Youth Centre, Onikan Lagos Island.

The Commissioner, who spoke through the Special Adviser on Environment, Mr. Olakunle Rotimi-Akodu, noted that the Walk, which was organised in conjunction with Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), was held simultaneously in Lagos Island, Kosofe and Ikeja Local Government Areas to promote environmental awareness on conservation matters in the State.

Speaking on the theme for the 2023 Walk for Nature: “Solutions to Plastic Pollution”, he said it is a wake-up call to everyone on the adverse effect of plastic pollution on human health, future generations, and the environment we live in.

Wahab said plastics pose a threat to humanity by altering natural ecosystems resulting in loss of habitat, biodiversity and the climate, adding that managing waste disposal through recycling, reuse and reduction is very important.

He stated that Plastics have been synonymous with people’s lives from packaging to different spheres of living, adding that the packaging sector has been identified as the largest generator of single-use plastic in the world.

The Commissioner stressed that in Nigeria, it has been reported that about 2.5 million tonnes of plastics are generated annually including sachet water bags, single-use plastic bags and bottles amongst others, saying the State has been estimated to generate about 870,000 tonnes of plastics annually, these plastics being about 15% of total waste generated in the State.

He said the indiscriminate dumping of these plastics and their presence in the canals, waterways, dumpsites and their inability to biodegrade requires a permanent solution to the menace to ensure the sustainability of Mother Earth.

He explained that the State Government encouraged proper containerisation as well as separation of waste at the point of generation, as such, it is presently engaging major producers in the beverage sector on the need to take responsibility for the end of life of these plastics.

He said over the years, the Lagos State Government through the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) and Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) has launched several initiatives ranging from Policy initiation, Environmental Education and advocacy and Buy-back programme to mitigate the challenge of plastic waste management within the State.

Waham informed that the Ministry recently embarked on the replication of Recycling Banks in the Government Residential Estates, Schools, Communities and Markets after a successful implementation of a pilot project within the catchment area of the Ministry Complex, Alausa.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Office of Environmental Services, Dr. Gaji Omobolaji Tajudeen noted that this year’s theme emphasises the need to proffer lasting solutions to one of the major causes of environmental degradation in the State.

He said considering the huge negative impact constituted by Plastic Pollution, it is imperative to ensure that the issue is addressed without any further delay, saying that to achieve the best results, the “All Hands must be on Deck’’ approach must be adopted.

He said plastic pollution reduces the life span of Human beings, Plants and Animals within the Ecosystem as well as results in flooding, thereby causing great havoc to the Lives of Aquatic, Terrestrial and properties,

The Commissioner added that it also narrows the food basket of the State and invariably opens the door to starvation if not effectively tackled and may lead to total loss of biodiversity in the ecosystem.

He therefore advised everyone to collectively work together to deliver measurable progress in the state to achieve the goal of an environmentally sustainable, healthier and more prosperous Lagos State.