Lack of environmental education, climate change, and low response to public enlightenment are some of the factors militating against a clean and safe environment in Lagos. Managing Director of Lagos State Waste Management Agency [LAWMA], Mr. Oladimeji Oresanya stated this at the investiture ceremony held by Nigerian Institute of Environment Engineers, Lagos Chapter for Engr. (Mrs) Abiola Kosegbe, on Tuesday, February 5, 2019.
Speaking in an interview with City People, the award winning environmentalist talks about the efficacy of the New Chairman of NIEE, Lagos Chapter, Engr (Mrs) Abiola Kosegbe) and how the body can work progressively with environmental agencies in Lagos. Read Excerpts..
How would you describe the impact of environmental engineers as regards LAWMA’s policies for Lagos State?
Well, Engineering is an applied science and if you look at engineering curriculum, it is a solution based science, you are an engineer to solve environmental challenges and I think if are an environmental engineer, that means you focus on basically environmental challenges and you are actually there to solve them. And I think that is why you have an effective collaboration between environmental engineers and the LAWMA institutions. Because most of the things LAWMA does you have the imput of all the various arms of engineering in what LAWMA. LAWMA solves the sanitation problem, especially waste management and they are engineering solutions which is technology based, that you use in solving most of these problems.
Looking at the teeming population of Lagos vis-à-vis the magnitude of waste that we generate by the day, how do you ensure that all these waste are accommodated?
LAWMA is a 41 year old institution. So LAWMA has evolved really in learning how not to do some things and are also positioning itself, even to improve on what he knows how to do best, which is all about waste management for a growing city like Lagos, a city with a population density and diverse in socio-economic activities. And I think LAWMA has really evolved and it’s up and doing, ready to take charge of the waste problem of Lagos.
LAWMA seems to be carrying wastes in most of the areas in Lagos for free. Is this a time opportunity or Lagosian should expect a continuous free service from LAWMA even after the elections?
What we do now that looks like free is like writing our own policy. We have a policy shift a few years ago where we tried looping our services through a questionnaire and find out that there are missing gap and the government is ready to take responsibility for some decisions and thereby to shift the tide and move back to a special services.
There is a price the government is paying for this now and it’s just for a while to make our people have a sense of belonging. We want to assure the people that if you leave your waste in your doorstep, the PSP will pick it up. And if PSP didn’t come in 24 hours, call LAWMA on a toll free line 5577, 0r 07080601020. The lines are on the bill, so it is not everywhere. There are some areas where they pay their bills, but areas where we notice that the impact of the policy has a higher impact on the socio-psychology of the people, government is paying the price by providing a free service for a while before we start serving bills to the community.
How would you describe the new chairman of the NIEE Lagos Chapter?
She’s a seasoned environmental engineer she started as a civil engineer and from her CV you can see that she has really evolved in environmental engineering and I think the cap fits her so well.
What will be your charge to her?
She has to bring along her environmental principles and knowledge and experiences she had, and collaborate with the institutions that are involved in environmental management, LAWMA being at the forefront, Liquid waste management also, gaseous waste through LASEPA, Liquid waste through the waste water team, LAWMA is focusing on solid waste, and also the local governments have been integral part of this so they have to be a synergy, so I expect her to do more of leading the level of collaboration with the institutions and her team to make sure that we take Lagos to the next level that we all desire.