Lagos used to be cleaner, even before Governor Ambode’s “Cleaner Lagos Initiative”. The city also had beautiful flowers decorating its roads. Lagosians know this, and they want that Lagos back.
Residents of Lagos have continually lamented the failure of the “Cleaner Lagos Initiative” embarked upon by this present administration. It appeared like the haters were at work, until it could no longer be overlooked. The city is dirty. The initiative is not working. Residents are scared of an epidemic breaking out. The rainy season is upon us.
The Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI) is said to focus on improving the environment to make it cleaner, safer and healthier for all Lagosians by promoting a harmonised and holistic approach to the challenges; and as a result, improving operational efficiency.
Accordingly, the initiative is supposed to be geared towards addressing, enforcing and regulating the challenges in the solid waste management systems within Lagos State, while also aiming to protect the environment, human health and social living standards of Lagos State residents.
The Governor said “We must acknowledge the environmental degradation that plagues the State and the urgent need for a world class comprehensive waste management system that addresses this crucial quality of life issue.”
In fact and in truth this is what the city is plagued with. Ironically, little is being done to achieve this “world class comprehensive waste management system” and what ever is being done is not enough, hence “this crucial quality of life issue” is not being addressed.
What went wrong?
Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), the first waste management outfit in West Africa which started as Lagos State Refuse Disposal Board (LSRDB) in Nigeria, under Edict 9
of 1977, used to be in charge of disposing our dirts and making our city clean and beautiful. With our mantra then: Think Green, Go Green, Live Green. Lagos was indeed green.
The Board was later christened LAWMA – Lagos Waste Management Authority, by virtue of the LAWMA Law 2007, and it accrued added responsibilities ranging from management of commercial, industrial, and medical waste streams, highway sanitation, cleaning of drainage and other water bodies, to construction and demolition waste management, among others.
It is pitiable that LAWMA’s last effective job was to supervise a 10-day screening exercise for community sanitation workers into the Cleaner Lagos Initiative, November 2017.
According to Mrs. Shobowale, Assistant General Manager Administration and Human Resources, the CLI programme has created a platform for more workers to be incorporated into the waste management workforce in Lagos State.
The words of Lagos Commissioner for Environment, Babatunde Adejare, hereby comes to mind when he informed, in 2017, that the government was awaiting the legislature to legally clear the coast, for the state to conclude a Public Private Partnership (PPP) deal that would see a Europe based firm invest about N85 billion in domestic waste management, over the next five years.
“Waste management is now big business. We are pulling out the PSP operators from domestic waste management in the state and they will now concentrate on the commercial waste management and collection which is more lucrative. The new contractor, a renowned international firm, will focus on domestic waste management, and will invest about N85 billion over the next five years.” he said.
In addition, earlier this year, the general manager of LAWMA, Segun Adeniji was reported to have said “Our waste management sector is currently undergoing a major reform. In March last year, a new bill was signed into law on the waste management sector, producing a single legislation that covers the entire environment sector in the state.
“That same law has made LAWMA a regulatory body, as against the time when LAWMA was only carrying out 90 per cent operations and 10 per cent regulations.
“From this year henceforth, all operations will be carried out by a competent body called Visionscape International, and the agency will handle all waste and refuse issues,” he said.
Who Is Responsible For The New Face of Lagos?
It would be no understatement to say now, that Lagos state is synonymous to dirt. A city that had once held the praise of the world as one of the cleanest in Africa is now too dirty its dirt attract the opposite of praise.
This administration is failing in making the city cleaner as proposed. The initiative is being described as a scam by residents. Visionscape disposal bins can be found on roadsides with wastes overflowing and littering the roads. Who should be held accountable? Who or what is responsible for our state of affairs?
Environmental degradation? Residents of Lagos? The government in its entirety? The international waste management agency? Perhaps LAWMA?
Fingers can be pointed from today on, and still no one would individually claim responsibility of our present situation. Everyone however has a role to play for a collective achievement of a cleaner and greener Lagos.
Most Importantly, the Government should rise up to task, the onus of the whole situation eventually lies on them. Governor Ambode should please not turn blind eyes or deaf ears to the happenings around the city and the lamentations of the residents.
A cleaner Lagos is definitely achievable, if right things can be put in the right places.
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