Challenges of managing waste disposal in Nigeria

Men lift compressed waste from a machine at the Wecycler waste recycling centre in Lagos

In developed and normal societies, waste management simply means the collection, keeping, treatment and disposal of waste in such a way as to render then harmless to human and animal life-the ecology and environment generally.

It could also be said to be the organised and systematic dumping and channeling of waste through or into landfills or pathways to ensure that they are disposed of with attention to acceptable public health and environmental safeguard. Proper waste management will result in the abatement or total elimination of pollution.

In Nigeria, managing waste disposal has become a major concern despite several attempts by successive governments and private organisations in that direction. That is why it is a common sight across the country today to see heaps of festering waste dumps in almost every nooks and crannies. Residential apartments, markets, waterways, highways, streets and undeveloped plots of land have been turned to waste dumps for many households. No wonder many say that in Nigeria, waste increases in a geometrical progression and collection and disposal is at an arithmetical progression.
It is obvious that some factors are responsible for poor waste disposal management. These include lack of adequate funding, excessive population, lack of comprehensive legal framework and enforcement of the existing regulations

Others include low investment in infrastructure,inadequate human capacity for administrative and technical issues, wrong attitude of the public towards solid waste disposal, poor planning, low data management and uncontrolled urbanisation, uncoordinated institutional functions, low academic research and industry linkages and lack of the needed political will on the part of the leaders.

Until these challenges are properly, boldly and diligently addressed by relevant authorities and individuals, managing waste disposal will remain a nightmare and recurring decimal in Nigeria.

In Edo It Is Waste Disposal, Not Management
From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City

In Edo State, waste disposal has remained a challenge over the years with indiscriminate dumping of refuse in available spaces especially markets, drainages and open space in residential areas.
 But nine years ago, when Comrade Adams Oshiomhole became governor of the state, there was a massive investment in waste evacuation and disposal with the upgrading of the state’s waste management board.

However, there is a legal tussle between the private waste evacuators and government-operated waste evacuators over rights to operate side by side. The matter is currently in the Court of Appeal. But most of the people in the state believe that the private operators have been more efficient in terms of prompt evacuation of the wastes than those engaged by the government.

The Guardian observed that the private operators are mostly seen in the hinterland while government contractors prefer areas within the major roads. The state government recently said it was already talking with investors that would turn the wastes to wealth in the state like it is being done in Lagos State. What is obtainable in Edo State today is evacuation and dumping in the available dump sites situated in Iqueniro near the bypass and Ugbowo.

An official of the Waste Management Board, who pleaded anonymity, said: “In Lagos, they have proper waste management, but here we don’t have that kind of structure. What we do is transportation. That means collecting from one point and discharging it at another point. What we do in Edo is waste disposal and not waste management.

“We have dumpsites where the wastes are taken to. Thereafter, we sort them out and crush the ones that could be crushed. We have waste collectors that are shared into zones and they go to individual houses, shops and others to collect waste and take them to dumpsites. We have two of those dumpsites in the state capital Benin City. We have one in Ugbowo and the other in Iqueniro by the bye-pass.”

He said: “Government has its plan for recycling. It is called waste-to-wealth, it was launched about three years ago and every state is supposed to key into it. The idea is that they were supposed to provide machinery that will help crush the wastes and convert to other use. But those machines are not currently on ground in Edo State like in Lagos where the wastes are recycled for other use.”

It would be recalled that the state government recently launched its  “Project Clean-Up Edo” campaign, where it urged the people to make deliberate efforts to keep their environment clean.

Speaking on behalf of the state government, Acting General Manager, Edo State Waste Management Board, Prince Aiyamenkue Akonofua, said it was the responsibility of every responsive government to remove chaos and disorder from society.
 This, he said, was the reason the administration of Godwin Obaseki has taken necessary steps to carry the people along in order to achieve the ultimate goal of a cleaner, healthier and better Edo.

He stressed that government would no longer condone trading on walkways, road set-backs, government right of way, public spaces and indiscriminate  waste  disposal, be it by traders, passersby, or from vehicles. This action, he said is backed by the Edo State Sanitation and Pollution Management Law 2010.He said commercial drivers have also been instructed to relocate to their original parking locations and avoid dropping or picking up passengers around the King Square/ Ring Road.

Akonofua said various segments of the society including traditional rulers, law enforcement agencies, non-governmental organisations, faith-based organisations, educational institutions and others would be involved in the campaign.
The process, he said, would also involve creating environmental sanitation clubs in schools, students’ environmental action coalition, introduction of buy-back programs for cellophanes and bottles.   The team, he noted would be working with a number of magistrates, state counsel, environmental health workers from local councils and members of the Nigeria Police Force.
Governor Godwin Obaseki said the state government was taking advantage of the vast potential inherent in recycling waste products in the state.
   He said the state government has commenced discussions with private investors interested in recycling waste products to come and invest in the state.
  Obaseki announced the plan in Benin City while inspecting the clearing of the garbage dump at the Benin City bypass.

Apapa, Ayobo Residents Engage In Indiscriminate Waste Dump
By Kemi Sokoya and Maria Diamond

The Guardian observed that at the Apapa axis of Lagos, apart from indiscriminate parking of tankers, there are also large dumps of refuse on virtually all the roads and available space.

Investigation reveals that this was caused by improper disposal of waste by residents and the inability of the waste disposal service providers to do their job. While some residents can afford to pay the operators for their service, others who cannot afford to do so dump waste in gutters, drainages and open spaces.

Speaking to The Guardian, a resident of Apapa, Niyi Bademosi, said: ‘‘The recent flooding in Lagos has been attributed to the dumping of refuse at canals and drainages. Traders within Apapa axis prefer to dump waste by the roadside, which is an ideal breeding ground for flies, rats and others. These flies that perch on the waste are the same that perch on our foods.

Investigation revealed that at Ayobo, residents living behind the Oja Oba market complex dump their waste inside the market at night when shop owners have closed for the day.According to Mrs. Olufunke Agboola, a shop owner at Oja Oba market complex, the residents have been dumping refuse inside the complex but shop owners usually contribute money periodically to evacuate it.

“Many people have packed out of their shops because there is no way buyers will see refuse dump in the market and come to buy goods,” she said.Another trader, Mrs. Isioma Orubo, said that private service operators charge N35, 000 to get rid of the refuse, but we cannot continue to pay.

“Myself and other executives of the market union went to the police station to inform them that we intend to bring anyone seen dumping refuse at the site. “We went to Ipaja Ayobo Local Council to see the councilor representing Ward B popularly known as ‘Pele Pele’, who said we have made his job easier by reporting it, but we should take pictures of the refuse site so he can use it as evidence at the board meeting and we have done that. We cannot continue paying for refuse we did not dump inside this market.”

‘Residents Are Sabotaging Government’s Effort In Waste Management’
From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu

One area of challenge Enugu has faced for some time now is how to effectively manage the wastes generated by residents of the state. The issue is being compounded by the increasing human and vehicular activities in the state as well as the fact that the agency saddled with the responsibility, Enugu State Waste Management Agency (ESWAMA) has relied on the existing platforms and methods to evacuate and collect waste.

To improve on the sanitary situation of the state, previous administrations created dumpsites in the neighbourhoods, where bagged wastes are disposed. The system is that officials of the waste management agency would evacuate the wastes from there to the dumpsites provided by the state government.

To further check any abuse of the system, the waste management agency provided branded cellophane bags to enable residents bag their wastes before dumping them in the large trashcans. A taskforce was also set up to arrest those who might want to dump un-bagged wastes at the dump areas and non-dump areas.

Investigations by The Guardian however showed that even with the sanctions placed on residents who defile sanitary rules in the state, management of the generated wastes has become a serious problem in the state.The reasons range from inability of residents to bag their wastes and dispose appropriately to overfilled dumpsites that dot the nooks and crannies of the state.

A resident, Mrs Joyce Ugwu, told The Guardian that some of the dumpsites are very far from the residents, stressing that the development has given rise to people dumping refuse indiscriminately on the roads and in some open spaces.

She stated that it was now a common sight to find water channels being blocked by refuse because residents have not accepted that these refuse dumps are meant to keep the state clean.

It was observed that some of the refuse trucks in the state are no longer operational, thus making it difficult to cart away the waste on time. To continue to discharge its responsibility, the State refuse disposal agency has engaged the services of private loaders. Only recently, the State Executive Council co-opted the Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ENSCTDA) in the management of waste in the state.

The development, which came as a rescue mission, was to ensure that wastes are properly and timely disposed in the state.An official of the ESWAMA, who spoke to The Guardian on condition of anonymity on Thursday, however, identified lack of cooperation among residents of the state as part of the challenges the agency is facing in the management of refuse.

He stated that incessant rains have compounded the efforts of the agency, lamenting that while its officials work daily under heavy rain, sun and sometimes in the night to keep the city clean, many residents still take advantage of the rains to drop refuse on waterways.

He added that non-payment of sanitation rates by residents is affecting the work of the waste agency, stressing that while the government has tried to ensure the cleanness of the city, many have constantly deviated from paying their dues.He said that the agency would only function well when there is money to discharge its duties. On the land sanitary site, he said that government has provided enough land where refuse are being dumped, assuring that arrangements have been concluded to get more trucks for the evacuation of refuse in the state.

“We are working hard. We are dealing with the challenges. But we ask residents to play by the rules because if there is proper bagging and disposal, we won’t have the challenge of littering the streets with wastes anytime it rains,” the official said.

Ondo Residents Blame Govt, Service Providers Over Poor Waste Disposal
From Oluwaseun Akingboye, Akure
ADEBOWALE Akintan, a resident of Temidire, an uphill and dusty area of Akure metropolis along Ilesha/Owo Expressway, carried polythene bags filled to the brim with refuse to be dumped stealthily in a nearby dunghill. His looks expressed the frustration and pains of the residents of the area as it concerns waste disposal in the community.

Akintan recounted that the plight the of people in the area that stretches through Oloko, Temidire, Orita-Obele, Igi-sogba, Ire-Akari I, Ire-Akari II, Oja-Ona, Automart in the eastern zone and entrance of the state capital; revealing that they use to pack their refuse and dispose them in a nearby bush.
According to him, the state waste management agencies do not ply the areas to collect their wastes, leaving them with no alternatives than to burn the wastes in their compounds during dry seasons or pack them to waterways and gutters during rainy season.

Another resident, Mrs Glory Olanipekun, lamented that the people in the areas had contacted the head office of Ondo State Waste Management Agency (OSWA) to inform them officially of their plights, but they gave them all sorts of excuses.

Olanipekun, who is also a landlady, shed more light on more horrible and unhygienic ways they manage their refuses, which exposes them to all sorts of diseases. “This is how we manage our waste here. We have no option because we cannot be keeping the refuse in our bedrooms and sitting rooms. We just have to look for means to make our immediate environment clean even though we still cause more harm in the neighbourhood on the long run,” she said.

This environmental hazard is not limited to this area alone but also common in the other parts of the state with over 3.6 million estimated population, and more devastating effects in the northern senatorial district, which has mountainous peculiarities and the south district, which is mainly a riverine region.

According to an environmental expert, Mr Martins Alo, the present state of the environment is of growing concern, particularly as it affects the urban settings. This concern is attaining alarming proportions because of the rapid urban population growth.“In Ondo State the rate of rural urban migration has increased over the years in spite of urban unemployment. This suggests that socio-economic conditions in the rural areas of the state have contributed significantly to the urbanisation process.

“For years back human related activities, especially development projects have led to increase in environmental degradation in the state capital. The core environmental problems of Akure metropolis are the same generic problems characteristic of other developing cities.” Alo, who is the President of Upline Resources Foundation and resident of Oda area, which also has records of environmental pollution, attributed general environmental problems to poverty, underdevelopment, poor housing plan, inefficient sewage drainage system and urban waste management.

He identified others as gross inadequate management of traffic with its attendant traffic flow chaos, air pollution from resources and particulate emission from motor vehicles, as well as water pollution from industrial contamination.

“Thus, the problems are those which result from demographic factors namely rapid rate of population growth leading to population explosion and its concomitant increase in requirements for food, energy and housing leading to poverty and poverty-induced urbanisation.”Also there are concerted efforts by some concerned people and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), who in recent times, kicked against 50 per cent increase in tariff of waste collection due to poor service delivery to the people of the state.

Leading the crusade, the Executive Director of Girls to Women Research Centre (G2W), Mrs Olamide Falana, wrote a petition to Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu sometime in May, bringing to the state government’s notice “an avoidable increase and suggestions for revenue generation increase for the agency.”

Falana, who is also the National Coordinator of Ondo State Women Must Count (OSWC), noted that barely 35 per cent of the state capital is currently served by the state agency who, rather than increase tariff on a concentrated population, should have increased its coverage of the waste collection services to boost the revenue generation for the state.

“Unfortunately, when the populace can no more afford the services rendered by the state agency, waste items will find its way to the streets, thereby constituting environmental and health problems reflected in increase in erosion, waste clogged waterways, waste packs littering the streets and an imminent outbreak of disease.”Efforts to speak with the OSWMA management proved abortive, but an insider in the agency, who pleaded anonymity, disclosed to The Guardian that the new government in the state is not supportive of the increase, lamenting that it does not release funds to ease OSWMA performance.

Waste Disposal: Lagos Govt. Commences “Clean-Up Initiative” In September
By Bertram Nwannekanma

Respite last week came the way of many Lagosians, who were confused over the new Lagos integrated waste management services following the withdrawal of the PSP operators for the new Cleaner Lagos initiative.

With the absence of the PSP operators, residents have resorted to indiscriminate dumping of refuse, resulting to heaps of garbage that dot strategic locations, streets and roads as Lagos perfect the transition from a state sponsored management system to more effective Pubic Private Partnership (PPP) refuse management system.

The transition did not only cause uproar for residents in a state, which conservatively generates 13,000 metric tonnes of refuse, it also led to some instance the return of the proscribed cart pushers, as residents seek alternatives.

A woman sorting out waste at the Wecycler waste recycling centre in Ebute Metta district in Lagos

But last week, Lagos State Ministry of the Environment in collaboration with Visionscape, swung into action and cleared over 12,600 metric tonnes of waste from over 80 locations across Lagos State within 10 days in an exercise tagged “Operation Deep Clean.”

State Commissioner of the Environment, Dr. Babatunde Adejare, told The Guardian that the exercise was a transitional intervention to ensure that normalcy is maintained preparatory to the September full kick-off of the Lagos State Clean Up Initiative, which will revolutionise waste management system in line with best global practices.He said that the state would sustain the clearing up of black spots and illegal dumpsites in the metropolis till the full commencement of the scheme next month.According to him, it could have been worse without the intervention, going by the level of waste generated in Lagos, which is one of the highest in the world.

He said: “ Lagos is generating one of the highest solid waste per day in the world more than New York. Conservatively, Lagos is generating 13,000 metric tonnes of waste every day. New York is generating 10,000. So, if Lagos is generating 13,000 waste per day and you factor in the undocumented areas in Ayobo, Ijede and all the other areas, the figure will be higher.”

The commissioner sued for patience, saying that the intervention is yielding results, as it was worst within the second week of July before the intervention, which he said would be a continuous exercise. According to him, Visionscape is poised to deploy a cutting edge technology on the streets to manage waste following the clearing of the machines from the port.

Evacuated black spots visited by The Guardian on Thursday include Belgium Bus stop Opposite Amuwo Odofin Terrace Housing Estate, Durbar Road, Opposite Block 240 and 245 Mile 2 Estates, Shogbon Market Bariga and Glover Street by Cemetery Road Simpson. A motorcycle mechanic at Belgium Bus stop Amuwo Odofin, Sodiq Olawoye, said the refuse was so huge that it covered the road before it was cleared by the Operation Deep Clean team.According to him, it was also impossible to work at his workshop because of the stench emanating from the refuse dump.

‘Lagos Govt. Needs To Be Sincere With New Waste Management Policy-PSP Operators
By Daniel Anazia

Despite Lagos State government’s strive to drive its new waste management initiative, the Private Sector Participants (PSP), who currently manage the waste in the state are up in arms with the government and in court challenging the new waste management policy, which they claim will put them out of work.

The incumbent administration, in a bid to achieve the ‘Cleaner Lagos’ agenda, promised that it has thoroughly assessed the current situation of the waste management infrastructure in the state and acknowledged it as systemic failure; hence it came up with a policy document on waste management.

The policy document as gathered, defined the role of the PSPs in the restructuring of the waste management system going forward to serve the commercial sector of the state and protect the interests of existing investments by requiring all commercial entities to have a valid and enforceable contract with a registered PSP operator.

However, some PSP operators, to save their interests and investment stormed the State House of Assembly, saying that the new policy will kill their investment, as only 20 percent of the state’s waste volume would be left for the 350 PSP operators to manage, while 80 percent would be given to foreigners.

Some PSP operators that spoke to The Guardian, explained that they are concerned about the return of refuse on the streets in the state but stressed that there is need to be very critical about the reasons in the delay of evacuation of the refuse, adding that it is an attempt by the government to give the operators a bad name.

According to an operator who craved anonymity, the state of the dumpsites is appalling, especially now that it is raining. He noted that it takes sometimes two or three days for a truck to dump its waste at the dumpsite.He said: “The challenge we face is multi-faceted, from the delay at dumpsites to hauling of insults by the residents. Sometimes it takes two or three days for a truck to dump its waste here at the dumpsite. Over time, our Association have written to the government, LAWMA on this and we have made so much noise on this and nothing has been done.”

“All the government is telling us is that they are working hard to sort out the dumpsite and we are very skeptical about that because we learned they are bringing foreign investors to take the waste collection service. What this means is that government wants to fix the dumpsites for the foreign investors to have a soft landing, while we are left to suffer and our trucks get damaged due to poor access road to the dumpsites

“If we get a brand new truck today and it goes to the dumpsite, under two months it becomes a rickety vehicle because it takes a caterpillar to push the truck into the dumpsite to dump the refuse and takes another to pull it out which dents the body of the truck. On average, we buy tyres every two months and a tyre costs about N85,000.
“So even the brand new trucks we buy, if you look at them today, they are in such a mess compared to the tokunbos that come into the market because of the state of the dumpsites. These are the real issues and the government has ignored us as far as I am concerned,” he added.The PSP operator further explained that the highways and public roads are meant to be taken care of by the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), while the PSP operators take care of the streets and communities.

“Because of the lack of capacity in terms of trucks on the part of LAWMA, some PSP operators were sub-contracted to evacuate the highways, major and local markets. Most people, instead of waiting for their PSP operator to come and evacuate their wastes, and because they don’t want pay for the service rendered, they bring their wastes to the roads and markets to drop; reason the roads are filled with heaps of refuse.

“This is unacceptable and government appears to be turning blind eye, resulting to ripple effects due to non-enforcement of the environmental law. In some of the communities we are being owed about N100,000, N80,000, N50,000, N40,000 etc. This is excluding what the government owed us for services rendered to the commercial entities, which they have collected. Despite this accumulated debts, we still go there to pick the refuse and dispose,” he said.


[adinserter name="Side Widget Banner"] [adinserter name="Guardian_BusinessCategory_300x600"]
[adinserter name="Side Widget Banner"] [adinserter name="Guardian_BusinessCategory_300x600"]

More Stories On Guardian

Don't Miss