Residents decry absence of new agency to evacuate waste
• ‘It is too early to dismiss Cleaner Lagos Initiative as failure’
Residents of Bariga Local Government Area of Lagos State have lamented the absence of the state’s waste management authorities responsible for waste disposal, stating that the absence is making their communities filthy with heaps of refuse.
They made their grievances known yesterday to The Guardian after waiting for several weeks with no sight for the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) trucks to evacuate their waste. They added that their plight was worsen by the recent clampdown on cart pushers, who have thinned out for fear of being arrested by the state’s task force.
Asked whether they are aware of the newly initiated Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI) saddled with the responsibility to make all parts of the city clean, Mr. Kareem Alaba, a secondary school teacher said: “I really don’t know why the LAWMA trucks have stopped coming. The rumour going around was that there are some issues between them and the new operators but recently we heard that has been settled out of court. Sadly however, I have not seen either of the CLI or LAWMA people in our area since late last year and the mounting waste is becoming a big concern to us.”
The situation is the same in Olosha area of Odi-Olowo LCDA, Mushin where refuse litter the roadside in front of Awolowo Modern Market. A trader, Mr. Taofeek Mufu, said they are yet to see the CLI in their area. “It is still the LAWMA street sweepers we see and they are not as many as before. Only a few of them are working. The waste truck usually comes twice a week but I have only seen them once this year. This is why many people resort to dumping their refuse in front of the market, since it can’t be kept at home.”
One of the LAWMA street sweepers simply known as Iya Wasiu, said the state government is owing her three months salary but that doesn’t stop her from working.
Meanwhile, a civil society group, Greater Lagos Youths (GLY), on Tuesday faulted the call for the termination of a contract signed by the Lagos State government with an environmental utility group, Visionscape Sanitation Solutions, saying it was too early in the day to dismiss the Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI) as a failure.
GLY, which is an amalgamation of over 60 youths’ groups drawn from across the 57 Local Government and Local Council Development Areas of Lagos State, said the call was not only misguided but hasty and irresponsible.
A group, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), had asked the government to terminate the contract with Visionscape, alleging unsatisfactory handling of waste in the state.
But GLY, in a statement by its National President, Kayode Gbadamosi, condemned the position of the group, stating that it was pretending to serve the interest of the larger society, while in reality it was doing the hatchet job for its paymasters to service interests, which were at variance with the health and sanity of Lagos.
The group said the CLI was introduced to address the challenges in the environmental sector with the focus of aligning the state with top cities in the world having effective and efficient waste management system.
“It is a known fact that the former waste management system in Lagos was fraught with a lot of drawbacks that is not in sync with the status of the state as a mega city by the deployment of outdated and faulty compactors, which were always breaking down; the short supply of personnel, etc. All these hindered efficient waste management system and constituted environmental hazards across the state.
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