- LAGOS Governor, Mr. AKINWUNMI AMBODE Explains
In recent times, Lagos State with a population of over 22 million has had course to grapple with resurgence of waste in major parts of the State. The development was attributed to the new waste management policy of the State Government encapsulated in the Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI). Yet more than casual observers noted that the sudden appearance of waste in some parts of the city, was the handiwork of those who are not comfortable with the policy and have vowed to stand against its implementation.
But true to type, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode last August told Lagosians that the new policy, when fully implemented from next month, would indeed transform the waste management subsector and bequeath a functional, healthier and livable environment to the people of the State.
For the Governor, the ultimate goal of the initiative is to make the mass of the people healthy, and when the people are healthy, they are likely to be more productive and productivity according to him, is about services and goods, which in turn, will translate to the growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the state.
The assurances of the true intention of the new policy came to fore at the 2017 Third Quarter Town Hall Meeting, the 8th in the series, held at the Badore Ferry Terminal in Ajah months back.
Addressing a large gathering of politicians, artisans, concerned Lagosians and residents at the meeting, which was specifically designed by his administration to intimate people about the policies and programmes of government and as well get the necessary feedback, Ambode said he deliberately asked that the meeting be held at Ajah taking into account the flooding recently witnessed in the area, and to assure the people that government was working round the clock to comprehensively address the challenges once and for all.
He specifically urged residents of the state to be patient with government on the Cleaner Lagos Initiative which has since commenced, saying that the policy which is a holistic and comprehensive waste management plan was currently in its gestation period.
He said once fully operational, waste would be collected in line with international best practices, while all parts of the state would always be kept clean.
The Governor, however, urged residents to adopt new attitude to disposing waste and desist from dumping in drainages and canals, assuring that the government would provide adequate bins to discourage indiscriminate dumping.
While giving further explanation, the governor said: “The question to ask is why are people putting their waste in the drains and canals hoping that somehow the water will flush it away? The answer comes back to government because we have not been able to provide the people with enough bins or places where they can put the dirt.
“They cannot leave the dirt in the house so they must have a channel to get it out. Another question is, has government been able to provide enough locations, bins, bags and so on? where they can put that refuse and then we can collect it and when we collect it efficiently, as part of their attitude, they will not go back to the canals and the drains. They will only go back to where we have provided for them.
“Now, do we have enough equipment to clean Lagos? Are we having enough dino bins, plastic bags, compactors that can go round the population of 22 million people? The answer before now is no. We are the largest waste producer in the world more than New York. New York produces 10,000 tonnes of waste every day, the waste accounted for in Lagos is 13,000 tonnes per day, not to talk of areas that are not documented.
“Do we have enough equipment and compactors? We don’t have, but how do we get it? We have not increased the taxes you are paying. The population is increasing and by that fact the waste is increasing and we have not increased revenue. But we need new equipment. Some people were doing it for us before but we all saw the equipment they have been using to clean up the State and the truth is they can never do it right.
“If we say we want to be a smart city and globally competitive, we must use the approach that allows you to collect waste in a globally competitive way and that is what we have done with the CLI without me punishing tax payers. We have a partnership that provides 600 brand new compactors without me paying one naira yet and with the partnership, we will provide 27,500 sanitation workers in all our wards across the state, who will be uniformed and clean Ikorodu, Ayobo the same way they clean Victoria Island and then they will provide bins where our people can now have the culture and attitude to put their dirt in the bins instead of putting it in the canals and drains,” Governor Ambode said.
Governor Ambode said all the 20 Local Government and 37 Local Council Development Chairmen have been mandated to ensure 24/7 cleaning of the environment, while officials of the State Government would be moving round to evacuate waste.
Under the CLI, apart from the 600 brand new compactors that would be used to collect waste, 900,000 electronically tracked bins would be provided in homes across the state, while wastes generated by the commercial sector would be handled by licensed private sector participants waste managers otherwise known as PSP operators.
The dump sites at Olusosun, Igando and other areas which had been major eyesore would be closed for Engineered Sanitary and Engineered Hazardous Landfills which are currently being constructed by the new partners, Visionscape Sanitation Solutions Limited. For efficient collection and disposal operations, the State Government has also concessioned three Transfer Loading Stations/Material Recovery Facilities at Agege, Oshodi and Simpson and three Waste Depots at Mushin, Ogudu and Simpson with the aim of rehabilitating and retrofitting the facilities to world class standard.
In addition, while the 27,500 sweepers would be deployed to all the political wards in the state to keep the inner streets clean, mechanised sweeping equipment would be deployed to all the highways to prevent the incidence of sweepers being hit by oncoming vehicles