Waste: Lagos scales up waste evacuation, urges for understanding
Residents Resort To Dumping Wastes At Night
In spite of new refuse disposal system introduced by the Lagos State Government, being undertaken by Visionscape Sanitation Solution, an environmental utility group contracted to lead the Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI) and provide waste management services, garbage heaps still dot different parts of the metropolis. A visit to Agege Council, where the pilot scheme is supposed to take off, indicated that CLI has resume operation in some areas, but residents are yet to fully feel its effectiveness.
Though the firm’s trucks are seen in the neighbourhood, indicating resumption of operation, the Agege Pen Cinema roads clean, even as neatly packed garbage in polythene bag dot the road. At Asade area, near Guinness road, trash bins were empty, likewise along NYSC road to Iyana Ipaja.
Further down at Ojurin, its operation was yet to be felt, as the environment was dirty and heaps of debris littered the roadside.The Ojokoro Area Unit Commander of Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps Unit (LAESC), Mrs. Alaka Oluseyi, said the method Visionscape uses to track waste is far more effective than the previous method.
“They ensure trucks are deployed to areas where refuse are dumped immediately we notify them.“CLI divided Agege local government area into Agege, Abule Egba, Ifako Ijaiye, Ojokoro, Ojodu, Alimosho, Agbado Oke Odo, Ayobo, Ipaja zones to make their operation efficient in society. “It is a gradual process, with time, other zones will feel their impact. They have resume operation in Agege and they are moving towards Abule Egba.
“Immediately you notify CLI manager in your zone, they are quick to respond,” she said.A hawker at Ojurin Market, Mrs. Ranti Adejumo, was not aware of Visionscape operations, but said she used to see small new lemon coloured trucks pass by everyday.“We dispose our trash through PSP when they come around once in a while to pick refuse. They charge us a token, depending on the size of what you want to dispose,” she added.
Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) Squad Official, Macaulay Modupe, said: “The CLI operates mostly in the night with their small lemon push trucks, probably to make their work easier.“That is the more reason why most people are not aware of their operation, because they don’t see them in the daytime, making them believe it is the old refuse disposal system that are parking their refuse.
“They have resume operations, especially around Asade and towards towards Guinness road, though the PSP are still coming around, but not as frequent as before.”A businessman, Ebuka James, said he used to see their big and small push truck in the neighborhood, but have not see them operating.
“We dispose our refuse with the same method the old refuse disposal are using by dropping it by the roadside, while they come around to pack it at their own convenience.”A driver with one of the franchise refuse disposal firms, Cosmopolitan Environmental Service, who asked not to be named, returning from a dump site, said they were still operating in Agege.
“The new initiative is not disturbing our operations. They are doing their jobs and we are also doing ours. Nobody is disturbing the other.”Mrs. Idibia Arowolo, a trader, complained bitterly over the heaps, adding: “We saw the green vehicle pass and they told us they will come back, but they failed to come. “We have been dealing with the stench coming out of the wastes, which is really affecting everyone that comes to buy items. “We found out that the refuse increases every day because residents and market people come to dump their refuse in the middle of the night when no one is watching them.”
She pleaded with government to come to their aid, as residents still drop refuse on the road, making Lagos dirty.A trader, Grace Omoyemi, who explained why the there is so much refuse on the roadside: “I am aware of the CLI and the new waste company have been coming to park the waste everyday, but residents come out to dump wastes at night.
“We always ensure that where are selling our goods are kept clean, so anything we pack from the floor, we put inside the dustbin. “We don’t throw our waste anyhow, because if the place is dirty, customers will not want to come and buy our goods.” She noted that residents living in the area were the ones dump refuse on the roads, making it look like the company is not doing their job well. But she urged the company to provide more waste vehicles, so that they won’t be waste on the road.
A resident, Sheriff Ibrahim, said he was not aware of Visionscape, saying wastes were always drop in front of their house for the PSP operators to pick up.
According to a shoe seller, Sola Okuneye: “ Normally, whenever my dirt is full, I put the waste inside a polythene bag and dump it inside the plastic by the roadside.
“As the bins get full with dirt, people would begin to drop on the roadside and it begins to overflow on the road for days, causing flies and smelly environment for those living in the area.“At times when they come to park the dirt during the day, in the middle of the night, residents will bring out another sets of wastes they had been storing in their houses for days to dump on the site, which makes the waste bins and the environment very untidy.”
Like others, he charged government to make things easier by providing enough waste bins for residents and sensitise Lagosians on how to dispose their wastes properly, as well as enough workers to ensure the whole place is clean.Meanwhile, the state government has assured residents that it was on top of the situation and would soon begin full implementation of its new vision for waste collection and disposal.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, speaking at the inauguration of a new board of the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps (LAGESC), headed by Daniel Isiofia, a retired assistant commissioner of Police, as Corps Marshal, allayed the fears over the resurgence of waste on major highways and streets, assuring that the government was on top of the situation and working round the clock to make it a thing of the past.He stated that in collaboration with Visionscape, the state has scaled up the evacuation of accumulated solid waste, recalling similar challenges in the state in 1999 under the administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, noting the current challenge with the teething stages would soon be over.
“Let me assure that in the coming weeks, there will be improvement. We are already witnessing a high-level of improvement. We promise people will see a marked improvement as more equipment come in to the country and we are able to deploy them accordingly.“But beyond the fact that we are clearing waste, the CLI is also ensuring that we have landfill sites, not dumping sites, where the waste we are generating can be recycled, re-engineered and resold, so that we can create wealth and a new business for Lagosians to tap into.”
The Chief Operations Officer (COO) of Visionscape Sanitation Solutions, Thomas Forgacs, said the company has deployed cutting-edge technology vehicles on the streets and roads to clear up the backlogs.The vehicles include walking-floor trailers, compactors, tippers, skips, tricycles, in addition to operational vehicles, embedded with innovative radio-frequency identification technology, Global Positioning System (GPS) and automotive Controller Area Network (CAN bus) system.
He stated that over one million plastic bags were deployed to take care of areas that are motorable and cannot be reached by the galvanised bins, while street sweepers and compactors have been working day and night to meet the challenges created by the transition period.“As a pioneer in environmental solutions, Visionscape trucks are fully equipped and embedded with cutting-edge features designed to meet the operational needs facing waste management across the state,” he stated.
Forgacs said the addition to the waste management fleet was in line with the firm’s commitment to provide integrated waste management services, using state-of-the-art equipment and innovative solutions to help transform megacities.He explained that in the last six months, the firm has surveyed the state and collated vital data to make its operations highly effective and therefore understands population density of the communities and areas that would be serviced.He said the preliminary assessment has aided it to know the amount of waste that would be generated in any particular location.He stated that the Tapa Transfer Loading Station (TLS) in Lagos would serve as one of many hubs strategically located throughout the state to enable it temporarily deposit collected waste from within city limits to be transported in bulk to the landfills after processing.
“The Tapa TLS is the first completed TLS, as the company is currently renovating other stations in Mushin, Agege and Oshodi as part of its mandate to provide integrated waste management solutions for the treatment of municipal solid waste and wastewater under the CLI.“TLS are the unsung heroes in the waste management supply-chain; they are fundamental in driving efficiency into waste collection and transportation services. It will serve as the middleman between waste collection vehicles and the final disposal facilities,” he stated.
Forgacs further assured Lagosians of timely collection and disposal of solid waste generated daily in the state, stressing that transfer stations would receive approximately 6,700 tons of waste a day.Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of the Environment, Abiodun Bamgboye, added: “Visionscape have proven their commitment to developing and implementing advanced processes in solid waste and wastewater management operations by disrupting the market with an innovative approach.
“Their state-of-the-art TLS’s will be a game changer in our sector.”An official, who craved anonymity, expressed worries over the resurgence of waste, even from spots evacuated, saying sabotage could not be ruled out; hence the decision to clamp down on cart pushers and those patronising them.With over 23 million inhabitants, producing an average of 14,000 metric tones of solid waste daily, amounting to almost half of what is generated in the entire country (30,000 metric), waste collection, evacuation and management has remained a daunting task for the state.
Until recently, large amount of solid waste, in form of papers, cardboard, plastic, metal, food and other materials were collected by Private Sector Participants (PSP) and dumped in landfill sites.But the introduction of CLI led to a disagreement between the PSP operators and government, resulting to resurgence of waste in various parts of the state.
Not even the intervention of Visionscape, which cleared over 12,600 metric tonnes of waste from over 80 locations across the state within 10 days, in an exercise tagged, ‘Operation Deep Clean,’ could solve the problem as waste continues to resurface as soon as they are cleared. Stakeholders have blamed lack of adequate planning and the non-resolution of the disagreement with PSP as reasons behind the resurgence of solid waste in the metropolis.
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