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Filthy Lagos: VSS to employ scavengers

…Intensifies construction of landfill sites to clear refuse

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

Determined to tackle the menace of increasing waste challenges in Lagos State, Visionscape Sanitation Solutions, VSS, an environmental utility group, under the Cleaner Lagos Initiative, CLI, of the state has indicated its readiness to employ adult scavengers at the Epe landfill, in a bid to make the state cleaner.

The Chief Operations Officer of Visionscape, Thomas Forgacs, stated this during facility tour of Epe Eco Park for the Waste Collection Operators embarked upon by the Ministry of Environment and the company recently.

Scavengers

Forgacs said that there were previously 500 scavengers on the site but the number had dwindled to 200. He said they had been categorised into two, those who fell within the 18 to 50-year category and those who were less than 18 years.

He added that it would train the under-aged among the scavengers so they could be reintegrated in the future. Currently, there are over 200 scavengers at the Epe Landfill, the first engineered landfill in West Africa.

Forgacs said the landfill, which is running at 80 percent capacity would be completed between 12 and 18 months, saying it is an on-going project.

“Lagos does not look the best at the moment with the overflowing refuse that appears to characterize the city, but citizen participation and inclusion is very apt at the moment, a joint approach is needed to tackle the fly-tipping problem head-on, alongside regular sensitization by the Lagos state government, Ministry of Environment, and the CLI on best environmental practices and utilization to overcome this phase and position Lagos State as the cleanest and greenest city in Africa by 2025,” Forgacs said.

Also speaking at the landfill site, the State’s Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti has said that the Sanitary Landfill, which is currently being built in Epe is in steady progress.

The commissioner stated that government has stepped up construction work at its 880,000 square meter Epe landfill site and Badagry, otherwise called Eco-Park, and other Transfer Loading Stations, TLS, adding that CLI is targeted at creating 27,000 direct jobs and a further 400,000 indirect jobs, contributing to improving socio-economic status aimed at bettering the lives of residents.


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