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Stakeholders decry unhygienic state of Okota, Ago canals

By Chidera Igbokwe
21 September 2022   |   2:39 am
Residents of the Okota area of Lagos have lamented the deplorable state of Ago and Okota canals, saying they are full of dirt and other effluents.

State of Okota bridge, yesterday. PHOTOS: CHIDERA IGBOKWE<br />

Residents of the Okota area of Lagos have lamented the deplorable state of Ago and Okota canals, saying they are full of dirt and other effluents.

According to them, the canals have become a channel of dispensing sickness and health hazards to residents.
The poor state of these canals, they said, is polluting the water and jeopardising their health.  
A look at the stretch of the canal in Ago revealed different ducts from which rivulets of environmental-degrading effluents find their way to people’s homes. 
A shop owner at Green field estate, Mr. Babatunde Olamide, said the situation is becoming unbearable for residents with the entire atmosphere filled with a putrid smell coupled with mosquitoes, which infect and transmit malaria to the people.
The business owner said cart pushers and some business owners also dump their waste bins in the canal, thereby making the smell more unpleasant.  
Another resident, Mr. Shola Adams said many people living within the vicinity are now used to the unhealthy smell and mosquitoes, which is not proper.
According to him, many of them are still there because accommodation in the area is cheap and more affordable compared to other areas.
He said visitors often complain of the polluted atmosphere.
Adams added that raising a family in that environment is becoming difficult because children cannot freely play around due to foul smells from the canal and the filthiness of the environment. 
Speaking on the issue, a pharmacist at Greenfield Estate, Mrs. Cynthia  Ojukwu, said apart from air pollution and methane that the canal releases into the atmosphere, it could also impact on the groundwater as the canal water sinks back into the groundwater.
She stressed the need for the community to take action or get the government to clean and set proper channeling of the canal.
Security personnel, Mr. Felix Adedeji, who works at the canal gate, also lamented that some houses without a proper toilet sewage system, channel their faecal waste into the canal.
He said: “The community has no control over the dumpsite at the canal because some youths have taken the arena as their franchise and collect money from cart pushers and other illegal waste disposal activities. 
“The touts are at loggerheads with the community because of the disposal. We are calling for the intervention of the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) to save us. We do not want any problem with miscreants that benefit from indiscriminate waste disposal. 
“There are about four different schools situated along the canal and such an environment is not good for school children to learn as it poses health risks for them. Government should intervene and clean up the canal,” he pleaded.
Responding, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of LAWMA, Mr. Ibrahim Odumboni, said considering the health implications of indiscriminate waste disposal and patronage of cart pushers, the agency has continued to appeal to residents to shun acts capable of endangering lives and the environment. 
According to him, LAWMA as the agency of the state government, saddled with the responsibility of managing waste in the state, has over the years implemented initiatives to make the environment cleaner and livable for all Lagosians.  
“We have stepped up effective waste management efforts across the state, which has really helped in curbing the outbreak of infectious diseases.

However, some residents would rather engage in improper waste management practices, than do the right thing, which is patronising assigned PSP operators. 

“We will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the cityscape is rid of indiscriminate dumping of refuse and all forms of waste pollution. Stiffer penalties also await defaulters. 
“LAWMA, as a health and environmental conscious agency, has embarked on continuous sensitisation exercises, to educate residents across the state, including those at Okota, on the need to imbibe the culture of hygiene and zero tolerance for living in unhygienic conditions. This advocacy and sensitisation is a continuous one and we are not resting on our oars.

“Keeping the city clean is a collective responsibility, so residents should do well to support our efforts by containerising their wastes, and patronising assigned PSP operators,” he added.

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