The Permanent Secretary, Office of Environmental Services, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Mrs. Belinda Odeneye, has raised alarm over the uncontrolled use of plastics and pet bottles by Lagos residents and its negative effect on the environment.
Speaking at the formal ban on the use of plastics and pet bottles among all staff of the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), Odeneye decried the increasing rate of single-use plastics, pet bottles, polythene and other non-biodegradable items by Lagosians, stressing that there is an urgent need to reverse the trend through the use of reusable plastics or biodegradable materials.
She said that all hands must be on deck to guarantee quality health for the citizenry and a drastic reduction in avoidable loss of lives caused by polluted environments.
Mrs. Odeneye appreciated LASEPA for championing the advocacy on reusable plastics and for setting the pace on environmental sustainability, noting that the initiative should be emulated by other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the State Government.
She also reiterated the Ministry’s alignment with the advocacy by LASEPA on reusable plastic, adding that some measures had been taken in the past to curb single-use plastics in the State.
Her words: “The Ministry of Environment and Water Resources has a Plastic Waste Management policy in place. It also has a Recycling Bank for plastic waste within its premises where people can exchange their plastic waste for money”.
“Also recently, the Ministry held a sanitation competition where Surulere emerged winner and was rewarded accordingly. So we are not just advocating a cleaner environment through our policy on plastic waste management, but we have also put a reward system in place to encourage willful compliance”, she added.
The Permanent Secretary, therefore, advised Lagosians to be mindful of the health implications of their attitudes to the environment, saying that all unhealthy environmental behaviour has a vicious cycle effect on the lives of every resident.
On her part, the General Manager of LASEPA, Dr. Dolapo Fasawe, said that the Agency is leading the way with the formal ban on single-use plastics, pet bottles, polythene and other non-biodegradable items among all members of staff to aid environmental protection.
She added that the agency is experimenting with the ban before making recommendations to other MDAs to embrace the advocacy on reusable items and the ban on single-use plastic items.
Dr. Fasawe said: “Today, I will be handing over some dispensers as well as some reusable items to all the departments and units as my personal contribution to this campaign on the ban of single-use plastics by all staff of LASEPA”.
“Beyond giving out these items, the long term goal is to ensure compliance by all the staff of this agency because I want the ban on these items to be effective and I also want all the staff to become advocates of this initiative in their various residences and communities”, the General Manager stated.
On what Lagosians should expect from LASEPA in the new year, Dr. Fasawe disclosed that the agency will be focusing on air quality in the State in order to limit the effect of polluted air, which is currently affecting vulnerable age groups, particularly the elderly and babies.
She said: “This year we are going to ensure improvement in air pollution. Motorists must service their cars as and when due. Residents must ensure that their generators do not emit smoke. Telcom operators must cultivate the habit of using gas to power their masts as well as find ways to ensure that waste oil is reused”.