By Kingsley Adegboye
The Lagos State Government has tasked community development associations CDAs and members of the informal sector to cooperate with the government to make Lagos metropolis a clean environment for human habitation.
Environment Commissioner, Mr. Tunji Bello who made the charge at a town hall meeting with Community Development Associations and informal sector operators at the Lagos Central Senatorial District in Surulere last week, reiterated the state government’s resolve to rescue the environment from agents of degradation through landscaping and beautification of loops, reclamation of open spaces as well as tree planting exercise.
These measures are meant to improve the quality of air, control diseases, balance our ecosystem, combat climate change and create conducive environment for humans and businesses to thrive.
The Commissioner said that the State Government has been getting the support of the people, because it regularly consults with them and opens up a regular line of communication for cross fertilization of ideas.
His words: “One of the major focuses of this administration is to re-enact our glorious past, especially in the environment. I remember the good old days, as a youth in Lagos, when the city was full of beautiful places like Love Garden, Pardinton Square, Row Park and the Key Side. Lagos State was then aesthetically appealing, devoid of noise and air pollution. Then Lagos was a tourist attraction. It was a city of gardens, parks and cricket grounds notable for series of local and national flower competitions”.
He regretted the flagrant abuse of environmental sanitation standards and laws. “It is disheartening that some people are engaging in old habits of indiscriminate dumping of refuse, open defecation and urination, street trading, construction of mechanic workshops on highways, trampling on green areas, illegal structures especially on drainage alignments, road setbacks and verges among others”.
Mr. Bello who declared the State Government’s zero tolerance to all forms of environmental abuses added that “whoever indulges in such behaviour, whether high or low, wealthy or poor is considered an enemy of the State. We cannot allow our efforts of four years to be thwarted by those who have constituted themselves into a clog in the wheels of progress. Neither can we surrender the future of the unborn generation to them”.
He said further that “all we need is the will to conquer these environmental challenges, the will to live, the will to bequeath a befitting environment to posterity. The aggressive environment regeneration drive in Lagos State is adequately justified by the urgent need to stem the current forces of global warming and climate change ravaging the entire global terrain”
He then enjoined the people to collaborate with CDAs/Landlords Associations, youths and raise up groups in their communities to clean drains, stop dumping refuse in our drains and desist from littering the roads and streets with pure water sachets, bottled water plastics and other forms of wastes.
He also identified some of the challenges of the environment worldwide as intense heat, ocean acidification, deforestation, and flood, Loss of biodiversity, acid rain and volcanic eruption as well as the rain storm recently experienced in Lagos which he described as climate change effects.
The Commissioner described Lagos as industrial capital of Nigeria where every nationality is represented, adding that the attendant challenge of this status impacts on the state’s infrastructure and environment.
He noted that the State Government has continued to handle issues of the environment with zest and determination because of the belief that “the environment is the superstructure on which the survival of other sectors rests”.
Bello appealed to the people to always participate in the monthly and the weekly sanitation exercise in all markets in the state, explaining that the unhygienic activities of the people particularly the dumping of refuse in drains have resulted into flooding in some parts of the State.
According to him, the State Government has embarked on massive pre-raining season clearing and dredging programme across the state to clean silted drains and construct new ones across the state saying that the effort was to improve their carrying capacities and to enhance the efficiency of the channels to effectively drain storm-water whenever it rains.
He also added that his Ministry has appointed Resident/Drainage maintenance officers for each Local Government in the state to manage flood related matters on Local Government basis.
Describing flood as a global incidence arising from climate change, he warned that the State Government would not promise a flood-free Lagos as no nation of the world can promise a flood-free State as a result of climate change.
He said “The rain this year is going to be heavy with storm. No country in the world is flood-free due to climate change but the impact can be minimized, we are prepared for the rains, if you have problems, contact phone numbers of the drainage engineers or the ministry”.
We promise not to rest on our oars until the city of Lagos becomes a pride of place for all and sundry.
Bello intensified the State’s warning that any “market that contravene the sanitation standards of the State will be shut for a minimum of three months”.
He said that the State Government is in the process of restructuring the Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) to regularize them and meet the rising environmental challenges of the State adding that some of them would be sent abroad for training.