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Residents wants Lagos government to clear waste at markets, schools, bus stops

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Stacked refuse at Ishaga Primary School, Ilasa.<br />PHOTO: YETUNDE JEARIOGBE

With the Christmas and New Year festivities over, things are gradually returning to the status quo in Lagos State, especially traffic and heaps of refuse, the two features that dot the Lagos landscape everywhere you turn.

Shortly before the yuletide, the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) affirmed its readiness to meet the waste management needs of residents during the season and consolidate its year-round vision of establishing a cleaner and healthier Lagos.

In a statement, its Managing Director/CEO, Dr. Muyiwa Gbadegesin, noted an anticipated 100 per cent increase in waste generation during the period, but that the Authority would ensure the season was celebrated in a clean environment by intensifying the distribution of black thrash bags for household waste and purple bags for recyclables to residents, with PSP operators mandated to work round the clock in their assigned areas of operation.

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At the onset of the second week into the new year, The Guardian observed yesterday that save for a few residential estates, many parts of city and roadsides, most especially market areas and bus-stops, were littered with heaps of refuse, a development many blamed on the illicit dumping of waste by residents.
 
A huge heap of refuse was sighted yesterday at Bello bus-stop, Ilasamaja. A shop owner in the area, Mr. Samuel Ihemeson, blamed the waste agency for its irregular pick up of dirt for the refuse heap. “This pile of refuse has been like this since I opened shop here. It increases every day. What baffles me is how it keeps mounting every morning when I come around.

“Such densely populated areas deserve regular routine evacuation of waste not the once in a week or fortnight operation that leaves the whole area in a mess that has become an eyesore. At a point, the refuse at intervals damages the transformer. And the community would be thrown into darkness for weeks as the electricity workers would hesitate to work on the transformer until the area is cleared of refuse. I am also affected because the stench from the refuse chases away my customers from patronizing me.”

Another shop-owner, Mrs. Elizabeth Ajayi, said: “We have contacted those mandated about this, yet nothing has been done about it. Most times, the landlords contribute and pay the local people to evacuate the refuse. Yet, people still dispose of their waste there, again and again, we are tired. The government should look for a way to curb this menace.”

The epidemic and health risks associated with a filthy environment are a source of worry for residents in Mushin. At Owoseni Street, Mushin, along the canal constructed for drainage, is a long stretch of the refuse site that even LAWMA or PSP trucks don’t venture to visit.

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Mr. Joshua Temitope, a resident, said dirt was drained from the canal over three months ago and local government officials promised to evacuate the dirt with a caterpillar but they have since forgotten about the project. Sadly, people now dump their dirt there, expanding the stretch of refuse, some of which is finding its way into the dredged canal.

Another resident disclosed that since moving into the area last year and noticing that there was no means of disposing of dirt, as PSPs don’t operate in the area, he had resorted to disposing his dirt at Costain while driving to work in the morning, rather than dump them at the canal.

Mrs. Bilikisu Alabi, another resident complained that her children are frequently suffering from cholera due to the dirt while the reign of mosquitoes at night is unimaginable.

The situation was the same at Isolo, Okota, Ishaja, Oshodi, Ejigbo, and Ikotun. Along the stretch of Ishaga primary school, heaps of refuse is increasing by the day, becoming an eyesore to passers-by. Despite several efforts made by the management of the school to stop the menace, it had been to no avail.

Lamenting, Mrs. Adebisi, said: “Most Nigerians do not have the fear of God. Despite the work of the Lagos State Waste Management Authority, the bogus signboard placed in front of the school to warn people from dumping refuse there and the curses rained daily on defaulters, the whole school surrounding is still littered with refuse. I pass here most times and it very sad when I see the heaps of refuse surrounding a school. I think the school management should make a scapegoat of anybody caught in the act,” she said.

Mr. Tunde Olowojobi blamed petty traders for much of the refuse heaps around markets and bus-stops. He also urged the government to ensure defaulters are apprehended to stop the nefarious acts.

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