December 18, 2016

Why we replaced monthly sanitation with Cleaner Lagos Initiative — Adejare, Commissioner for Environment

Why we replaced monthly sanitation with Cleaner Lagos Initiative — Adejare, Commissioner for Environment

Lagos State Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Babatunde Adejare

By Kingsley Adegboye

Described as new thinking that will revolutionalise solid wastes management, Lagos State government has disclosed a new system of managing solid wastes that  would see to the overhauling of the old order of wastes management in the state starting from the Lagos State Waste Management Authority, LAWMA.

Unveiling the government’s plan, the state Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Babatunde Adejare, said the new thinking will involve the deployment of sanitary officers to all the wards across the state and recycling of large percentage of the wastes generated. Adejare pointed out that the idea behind the decision is to commercialize waste management for wealth creation, employment and to ensure a clean Lagos after the scrapping of the monthly environmental sanitation exercise in Lagos.

The Cleaner Lagos Initiative, according to Adejare, became imperative due to a number of challenges inherent in the former environmental laws of the state. He added that besides creating the enabling environment for the private sector to carry out international best practices, the new order is expected to address the current challenges in solid waste management.

Earlier, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, the state Commissioner for Information & Strategy, who introduced the Cleaner Lagos Initiative, said its aim is to protect the environment, human health and social living standards of Lagos residents by promoting a harmonised and holistic approach to the challenges of waste management.

Ayorinde, who disclosed that the new initiative will address the problem in the existing legislation to expand the scope of LAWMA to enable it enforce, regulate and generate revenue from waste management, said several factors had colluded to stall the smooth operation of the state’s waste management authority.

Lagos State Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Babatunde Adejare

According to the state Commissioner for Environment, regular waste collection, hindered by a vicious cycle between clients and operators poor collection service delivery, irregular and poor payments, bin placement, transfer loading stations were among the flaws of the old system.

“LAWMA in its role as regulator is overwhelmed by the responsibilities of having to coordinate the activities of 350 individual companies and still carry out its own collection services. The billing system is unduly complicated due to the differences and inconsistencies in charges and collection routes therefore leaving the billing system open to manipulation and fraud. Many individual operators have failed to fulfil their obligations on the trucks.

“To address the situation, apart from the transformation of the existing Transfer Loading Station (TLS) and the introduction of not less that 25 Material Revolving Facility MRF, where wastes will be sorted, 600 new compactor vehicles will be acquired, and waste dump sites will be closed and replaced with engineered sanitary landfill sites.

“The PSP and LAWMA partnership was quite effective, but is no longer applicable, considering the fact that the population of Lagos has increased several fold (and still increasing) and the over 300 compactors in use are old and in a state of dis-use. Wastes should not bring us hardship and shame, but rather we should make money from it. Emphasis will be on zero-dumping, recycling and generation of power from wastes.

“The government will carry out a recertification of all the 350 PSP operators, relicense them and audit the state of their compactors. Each compactor will be tracked, the state will be divided into zones and compactors are allocated to different zones. There will be a control room where every compactor will be monitored. Five new power stations, one in each division of the state, will be built to generate power from wastes. The numerous dump sites dotting parts of the state will soon be a thing of the past”.