- Waste Managers Lament Refuse on Lagos Roads
The waste crisis in Lagos State has become unprecedented with increased volume of garbage on the streets, roads, highways and median, almost taking the state back to 1999 when waste was competing with vehicles and pedestrians, the Association of Waste Managers of Nigeria has said.
The association, an umbrella body of Private Sector Participants in waste management in Lagos, said the situation had become so alarming that it called for concerted efforts from the government, all stakeholders and the entire residents of the state.
In a letter addressed to the Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode; and the Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Babatunde Adejare, dated December 21, 2017, the association described the situation as a crisis that required urgent attention.
The Lagos State Government had in June 2017 introduced the Sanitation Intervention Programme to address the challenge of refuse littering some parts of the state during the transition to the new solid waste management system known as the Cleaner Lagos Initiative.
According to the government, the intervention programme became necessary to ensure that no stone is left unturned in the effort to achieve a clean and hygienic state, and to also discourage indiscriminate dumping of refuse in places such as Ojuwoye, Mushin, Eti-Osa, Agege, Alimosho, Ojo, Ikeja, Badagary, Oshodi-Isolo, Lagos Island and Lagos Mainland, among others.
But rather than achieve its aim, the programme, according to AWAM, has only encouraged residents to dump their wastes on the roads with the expectation that the government will cart them away.
“This programme has escalated the waste management problems in the state. The Ministry of the Environment introduced it as a short-term measure that has now turned to an inconsistency in government policy of house-to-house waste collection, making it totally counter-productive,” AWAM said in the letter signed by its Chairman, Ola Egbeyemi; and General Secretary, Taiye Kolade.
AWAM in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent, noted that the simple message of the waste intervention scheme was “go ahead and dump your waste anyhow, anywhere, anytime; we will pick them up.”
The group added that the payment of N25,000 per trip to its members who collect wastes from the dark spots was not economical to both the government and the operators, saying that while the government continues to spend heavily to evacuate the wastes, which keep reoccurring, the amount paid per trip did not cover the operational costs of the operators.
The group said, “The intervention has caused an unprecedented increase in the volume of waste on the highways and medians in recent times, as some residents now prefer to dump their wastes on the highways and medians as these are free of charge, as opposed to paying for waste disposal.
“What was meant to be restricted to the highway has now extended into the inner streets, thereby encouraging the residents not to patronise the assigned PSP operators in their areas. It has unfortunately led to a few operators abandoning their slots because the residents have stopped paying and now focus on the intervention programme. The end result is more waste, while the system is open to abuse and fraud.”
The group stated that its sustainable solutions included tackling the waste problem at the point of generation by enforcing the government policy of door-to-door collection, acknowledged to be an international best practice; and ensuring that all the existing dumpsites were made accessible at all times to enhance the turn around time of the operators.
According to the group, carrying out massive advocacy programmes to enlighten residents; enforcement of sanitation practices of bagging and containerisation of waste; provision of sustainable enforcement for non-compliance with house-to-house disposal and non-payment; and provision of subsidy for the low income areas are some of the areas the government should explore to solve the waste crisis.