Lagos battles to keep wastes at bay
The rains are coming early this year, a frightening development that may spell doom for residents of the coastal city. It is not enough for Lagosians to prepare for an unprecedented flooding, what is scarier is the looming epidemic that lies in the days ahead while the state struggles to stay afloat in the ocean of refuse heaps.
Across the five divisions of Lagos – Ikeja, Badagry, Ikorodu, Lagos Island and Epe – filth is replacing the signature symbol of the Centre of Excellence that only last year marked its 50th anniversary with many jubilee projects.
No part of the state is spared, not even highbrow locations. From Broad Street, Balogun Martins, Tom Jones, Idumota all the way to the front of UBA head-office is a mountain of refuse oozing stench that could make the dead flinch.
In fact, community leaders in the mainland areas are going political by seeking the intervention of national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to intervene as a matter of urgency in the ongoing misunderstanding between the local PSP waste operators and the state government to save Lagos from imminent take-over by refuse dumps.
The community leaders, who represent a cross section of Community Development Associations (CDAs) from across the Mainland, said they are unable to keep silent any more when their people are choking from piles of wastes in their homes and streets, stressing that unless something is urgently done to restore sanity in the state’s waste management, the state would face disastrous health consequences from built-up wastes in homes, drainage channels and streets as a result of the decision of the present government to stop the PSP operators from domestic waste collection.
However, according to the Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Kehinde Bamigbetan, Visionscape Group, the foreign firm contracted by the state government to rid Lagos of solid wastes has turned to local private waste operators for help in evacuating the wastes from residential areas.
“Under the Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI), the government has made provision for the PSP operators to handle collection of commercial waste and there are over 15,000 companies in Lagos that can serve the over 200 PSP operators in the state. So far, the CLI has been able to get over 50,000 new employees out of the labour market. The government has also assessed N2.5 billion loan to enable the PSP operators buy equipment to be more competitive,” Bamigbetan said.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Environment, Babatunde Hunpe, alleged sabotage of the evacuation operations by the PSP operators while noting that many of the emerging dumpsites are market areas.
“Waste is evacuated everyday. What we have is a slow down in the operations of those covering the market areas and almost 80 per cent of Lagos are market areas. Because of the congestion in those areas, evacuation is usually done at night.
However, to prevent indiscriminate dumping, the government has deployed the Lagos Environmental Sanitation Corps (LAGES) to all parts of the state. What we require from citizens is for them to neatly pack their waste and place it in front of their premises for it to be evacuated not patronize cart pushers, who eventually dump these waste by the roadside.”