•Says PSP operators ignorant over suit against government
•As Visionscape opens 24-hour waste management depot in Ogudu
By Kingsley Adegboye & Onozure Dania
LAGOS State government, weekend, disclosed its vision to make Lagos metropolis among the cleanest cities of the world, even as it said PSP operators in waste management in the state went to court against the state government out of ignorance.
Lagos State Commissioner for Environment, Babatunde Adejare, who made the disclosure at the soft launch of Visionscape phase1 implementation in Ogudu, Lagos, pointed out that waste management had become a herculean task due to the ever growing population of the state hence the need to introduce the new operators with advanced technology to manage all waste types in the state.
“Visionscape, an environmental utility group which has taken over waste management in the state under a Public Private Partnership, PPP, arrangement, is leading the new crusade tagged the Cleaner Lagos Initiative CLI, of the government.
Throwing light on the court case between the government and the PSP operators in waste management filed by the Association of Waste Managers of Nigeria, otherwise known as Private Sector Participation, PSP, in waste management, the commissioner said the contractual agreement the state had with the operators to manage waste expired since July 2016, adding that they no longer have any subsisting agreement to work with the government.
He however, disclosed that the fact that they are in court should not hinder waste management in the state, pointing out that the state government is still ready to partner with the litigants and the government is working to achieve that. According to him, “This is not about PSP. PSP operators were our contractors. Their contract expired last July. They have no subsisting agreement to work with us. But because we don’t want PSP operators out of jobs, we are ready to continue to work with them.
“The launch of the new initiative does not violate the court order requiring parties to maintain the status quo. We are not sacking PSP operators. We are maintaining the status quo. The court never said we should not evacuate waste any more. They are our people; we can’t run them out of jobs. This soft launch is to make sure our city is not dirty. There are about 350 PSP operators and we have 25 million Lagosians. Do we want to satisfy the 350 operators to the detriment of 25 million people?”
Adejare noted, “We have always believed in Visionscope and by the grace of God Lagos is going to be one of the cleanest cities of the world. The desire to improve the sanitation of the state in line with producing a friendlier environment for residents is a desire this lunch will actualise.“ He added that 600 compactors were being sourced from various countries to be able to cope with the huge waste generation in the state, pointing out that the state was targeting about 5,000 compactors in the next five years.
He also stated that transfer loading stations are going to be transformed into organised, well structured waste recycling systems.“Mr. Harry Ackerman, Executive Director, Visionscape, said in his welcome address that the company would eliminate dump sites in residential areas in the first phase of the project being lunched, adding that the phase two is going to target total elimination of waste from households.“Also, Visionscape’s head of Corporate Communications and Corporate Services, Mrs. Motunrayo Elias, said the organisation has the manpower and equipment to keep Lagos cleaner and that the project will create several jobs for residents of the state.“Elias added that Visionscape would commence phase one of the company’s implementation strategies, with ‘Operation Deep Clean’ on July 1.“According to her, “Visionscape has made provisions to ensure that there would not be dump sites again in the state. “We have trucks and tricycles to run and collect refuse in every part of Lagos even the river-rine areas, and we run a 24-hour operations.
“She also said that in a few weeks’ time, the company would roll out an advocacy programme to educate the public on better ways to handle wastes especially hazardous ones.“
The Cleaner Lagos Initiative was established by the Lagos State Government to address, enforce and regulate the challenges in the solid waste management systems within Lagos State.
The initiative is focused on improving the environment to make it cleaner, safer and healthier for all Lagos State residents, while also improving operational efficiency in waste management. Visionscape, which is in a private-public partnership with the Lagos State Government, is set to provide waste management services for the CLI, under the Lagos State Waste Management Authority LAWMA.