…Akiolu drums support for Initiative
…As government in sabotage battle with PSP, cart pushers over refuse dump
By Kingsley Adegboye, Olasunkanmi Akoni & Fredrick Okopie
In a move to bring relief to Lagos residents on the current waste situation in the mega city, Visionscape Sanitation Solution and the Waste Collection Operators WCOs, otherwise known as PSP Operators, have agreed to work together as partners to achieve a cleaner, healthier and safer Lagos.
This resolution was made at a meeting facilitated by the Commissioner for the Environment, Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti in his office at Alausa weekend.
Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti said that government was interested in easing challenges being experienced in Waste Management at present by creating synergy between Visionscape Sanitation Solution and the WCOs in their spheres of operation, stressing that resolving the challenge in a mutually beneficial manner was the best approach.
According to him, “Government more than ever believes in this partnership and that is why it has not only provided a facility of up to N2.5b with state government’s guarantee, which PSP operators could access to upscale their operations, but it has also opened another channel through the Employment Trust Fund for loan facilities at reasonable interest rate of not more than 12 per cent per annum,” he said.
The commissioner stated that the state government was determined to remove all bottlenecks hindering seamless waste disposal operations, adding that it was making the bold move of targeting a turn-around time of thirty minutes at the dump sites by encouraging concerned stakeholders to create additional platform at the sites.
He emphasised that no efforts would be spared to return the dumpsites to sanity by reducing the menace of indiscriminately parked trucks and scavengers, both of which add to the loss of time at the dumpsites.
The Chief Executive Officer of Visionscape Sanitation Solution, John Irvine, applauded the new found understanding between his company and the Waste Collection Operators and stated that challenges being experienced in domestic waste management in Lagos State had to do with the fact that the domestic waste operator was just in its first cycle of operation, meaning that it must contend with some teething problems.
His words: “It is not unusual to face this kind of problem especially in the first cycle of operations. It takes some time to build the superstructures and to ameliorate the present hiccups; we are buying and taking steps to have waste container bins manufactured locally.
Speaking on behalf of the WCOs, Kasumu Afis Olasehinde reiterated their commitment to the success of the Cleaner Lagos Initiative and pledged to roll out more trucks to rid Lagos of wastes’ black spots.
“To show our total commitment to a cleaner, healthier and safer Lagos,we have not only resolved to work with the government of Lagos State and the domestic waste operators as partners, we have also resolved to commence free operations every Thursday to mop up black spots in our respective areas,” he emphasised.
In his remarks at the meeting of stakeholders involving Visionscape, PSP operators and community leaders in Lagos Island last week, Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, called for support for Cleaner Lagos Initiative, pointing out that “it is not good to continue to use carts to pack waste. This is why we have the Cleaner Lagos Initiative. So, as Lagos residents, it is advisable to stop dumping refuse indiscriminately. People should not undermine the efforts of the Ambode-led government. The CLI is for the benefit of the citizens,” he said.
Meanwhile, in January 2018, Lagos State Government announced a total ban on the operations of cart pushers and wheelbarrow operators in the state, saying that their activities were inimical to the environmental cleanliness in the state.
The Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Mr. Tunji Bello, while announcing the ban said that with the flag off of the Cleaner Lagos Initiative, the continued activities of cart pushers would pose a threat to the success of the initiative.
Bello said that investigations had also revealed that the cart pushers are responsible for most of the illegal dumping of waste in canals and road medians at night which causes flooding, adding that aside constituting environmental nuisance, they are also a security threat.
He explained that government had discovered that this set of people perpetrate all sorts of dastardly acts at night, stressing that they dump refuse indiscriminately on the median of major roads and highways.
“They also pose serious security threats because they use those carts to hide arms and ammunitions and hide under the guise of carrying refuse to rob unsuspecting residents. The state government has therefore, declared zero tolerance for the activities of cart pushers and wheelbarrow operators and directed security agencies to ensure that those found still operating will be arrested and prosecuted according to the State Environmental Law,” Bello noted.
As part of pragmatic step to tackle the menace, the state government arrested some suspects in the act, with plans to arraign four officials of PSP operators arrested for dumping waste on the streets in the middle of the night along the Central Business District, CBD, of Lagos Island.