We are looking at re-introducing wolewole in Lagos, says Adejokun
Mr. Olumuyiwa Adejokun is the chairman, Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA). He speaks on how the new management has been able to improve tremendously on the services of the agency and on the plan to reinvigorate collaboration with the private sector partners to boost waste management in the state, AJIBOLA AMZAT and SEYE OLUMIDE report.
Over 70 per cent of wastes in Lagos are evacuated daily.
I wonder where you get that record or information that less than 60 per cent of wastes in the state are evacuated by LAWMA. I will turn that to mean more than 75 percent of wastes in the state are being evacuated on a daily basis. I am saying this because I am directly involved in the evacuating process.
Let’s take Lagos Island for example because that area is where the largest business is transacted in the whole of the federation. You can imagine the volume of population and the amount of waste we evacuate from that axis alone everyday. It will also interest you to know that as we are removing the waste, people are dumping, which makes the job very challenging and tedious not only for LAWMA field staff but also for us.
I took over as LAWMA boss in October and one thing we have achieved is the ability to classify and sort the entire wastes that we collect. As we speak, I can tell you the exact volume of organic wastes we generate, the exact volume of plastic and glass wastes we evacuate on a daily basis. This is just to show that we pay attention to the types of waste we collect.
Another thing is we also monitor the volume of the wastes we evacuate through the number of compactors we load on a daily basis. This is also measured through the number of times each of the waste collector compactors travel to evacuate the wastes from different points and sites to our landfill sites, which gives us the idea of the amount of tons of waste we evacuate daily.
The number of times we travel to evacuate the wastes from different locations to our various dumpsites varies on a daily basis considering the traffic and other factors.
My first approach as LAWMA boss
The first thing I did was to carry out a lot of studies, research, and other findings. We documented our findings and the documentation is going to be the blueprint that will guide us in effective waste management.
The point is, we are set to improve drastically on what we met on ground and of course I must inform you that we had already improved because waste management is critical to the effectiveness of any administration and the wellbeing of the citizens.
I can beat my chest that LAWMA is effectively evacuating more than 75 percent of wastes across Lagos and hopefully we will improve on it before the end of this year.
Whatever information you need to know is contained in our documentation, this includes the nature of wastes you can pick from Victoria Island and the type of waste you can pick from Mushin and other places.
Silt removed from drainages, canals is often abandoned
We need to differentiate one thing that most people do not know; LAWMA don’t clear drainages, there is a government body that is in charge of clearing of drainages and canals. It is the duty of the Drainage Services to clear and at the same time, evacuate the silts from canals and drainages. If you see LAWMA personnel evacuating silts removed from drainages or canals we are only helping the agency in charge to do its job.
One of the vital aspects of waste management, particularly in Nigeria is advocacy and monitoring. One of the big challenges we have in this business is people’s attitude to waste management but we are not relenting on to monitor and enforce to enable the people comply to waste management regulations.
I am one of those who believe change is a gradual process.
Lagos State has started enforcement through the Mobile Court. The approach is a very good one and we are trying to key into it here in LAWMA. Offenders would be tried and convicted if they were found wanting. The implication is that a conviction is a conviction even if it is a fine of N2000. We are also looking at introducing this old method called wole wole (health officers).
We are also going to improve on our tariffs. There is a unit in LAWMA that goes about to ensure that people pay their tariffs to the appropriate places and authorities.