Cart pushers gradually returning to Lagos
The former Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Tunji Bello, had in a statement said that activities of cart pushers posed a threat to the Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI), a novel scheme, which is now defunct.
Bello, who issued the statement in the wake of CLI’s flag-off, said investigations also showed that they were responsible for the emergence of most illegal dumpsites, as well as dumping of waste on road medians, and in the canals at night, which contributes to flooding in the state.
To match words with action, the government within weeks of the pronouncement arrested over 200 cart pushers across the state for constituting an environmental nuisance.
However, checks by The Guardian reveal that these private refuse collectors are gradually returning to the streets, and their operations picking up slowly, especially in areas, where the operation of the Lagos State Waste Management Agency (LAWMA) and its Public-Private Partnership (PPP) agents is poor.
One of the areas where these cart pushers have become popular is the Okota area of the state, as they are seen picking up refuse for a fee along Ago-Palace Way in Cele area, Debo Bashorun Street, Chris Ebi, Avenue, Ali Dada Street, and other streets in the neighbourhood.
Sadly, in most cases, the waste that they pick up are emptied at illegal dumpsites, thereby contributing to environmental problems, especially blocking the drainage network.
One of the cart pushers, Hassan Mohammed, who operates in the area told The Guardian that he has been moving refuse from houses and streets in the neighbourhood for months now as part of his contribution to keep Lagos clean because “refuse all over the streets and it’s very easy for people to access us, unlike officials of the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) and PSP, who come around once in a while to pack garbage.
“I usually dispose refuse collected from households wherever I see heaps of refuse disposed by LAWMA to be recycled. We don’t actually have a particular place where we dispose refuse that we carry from our customers. Some of our colleagues dispose the garbage at Itire Road, Oke- Afa Road and others. At times, we pay N200 weekly to LAWMA officials so that they would allow us to dispose of the refuse we have collected at their dumpsites.”
Another cart pusher, who simply identified himself as Christian, said he is in the business to help the environment and residents, who cannot wait for LAWMA officials to show up after long periods.
Christian, who claimed that “all cart pushers are still working under LAWMA,” added, “I pay N200 to those in charge of the dumpsites weekly so that we can empty all that we have carted from our customers’ houses.
A resident of Chris Ebi Street, Nnena Uzor said she patronises cart pushers in order to keep her home and surroundings clean and tidy since “she can’t afford to wait for LAWMA officials to come around once in a month or thereabouts, when the waste would have been overdue for disposal.”
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