…As perennial flooding remains unabated
By Kingsley Adegboye
Raining season in Lagos is usually a period that gives Lagos residents sleepless nights. While those residing within flood plain areas, coast lines and erosion prone areas are battling with how to contend with flooding of their settlements, residents who live upland within Lagos metropolis are thinking of how to wade through the flooded Lagos roads during the rains.
However, the perennial flooding and other environmental challenges in the state such as climate change, global warming, pollution, blocked drainage channels, canals and the rest, have equally been a major headache to the state government.
But the Babajide Sanwo-Olu-Obafemi Hamzat led administration says it has put necessary measures in place to mitigate climate change-induced environmental challenges in the state.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, while celebrating one year anniversary of his administration in the state recently said his administration had put necessary measures in place to explore effective urban planning, developmental control, drainage designs, dredging, construction of drainage channels and environmental education to mitigate all climate change -induced problems confronting the state.
Consequently, in preparation for the likely consequences of 240 to 270 days of rains in 2020 as predicted for Lagos according to Nigerian Meteorological Agency NIMET, Sanwo-Olu noted that administration had embarked on extensive dredging of water channel projects across the state.
According to him, the government had equally embarked on massive de-silting of drains, clearing of culverts with identification of black spots as the state prepares fully for rains.
Corroborating the governor, the State Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello, disclosed that critical channels had been worked on, 83 secondary drains maintained by the Emergency Flood Abatement Gang EFAG, while 40 primary channels had been approved and awarded out of which 34 channels had already been executed.
Bello who advised Lagos residents to prepare for likely consequences, assured that government would continue to reap the gains of planning, as the flood control measures in the state had been stepped up to contain any unforeseen weather condition, adding that relevant measures had been put in place in preparation for the 2020 rainy season.
According to him, the state was determined to maintain and sustain the long-established synergy and partnership with Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority, pointing out that the partnership had ensured control and monitoring of steady and systematic release of water from Oyan Dam to prevent flooding of the release of the downstream communities.
In the area of waste management, Senior Special Assistant to Governor on Media, Mr. Babatunde Alao, said that Sanwo-Olu administration has repositioned the Lagos Waste Management Authority LAWMA, for an effective and resourceful waste management programme towards elimination of refuse in the state.
With the support of the Public Sector Participation operators, he stated that LAWMA has succeeded in cleaning wastes indiscriminately dumped in different parts of the state.
Sanwo-Olu said his administration has acquired 10 new boats to boost marine waste collection in collaboration with the Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance.
This initiative, he said resulted in preservation of acquatic flora and fauna in the state in line with government’s policy direction on constant clean-up of waterways to enhance a cleaner and aesthetic environment.
On beautification and development of parks and gardens, Sanwo-Olu maintained that they have been improved upon, adding that Oregun park and others across the state were being designed to promote relaxation, recreation and picnic.
According to the governor, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency LASEPA, has also engaged various stakeholders on dangers of environmental pollution especially noise pollution.
“There is also waterfront clean-up to reduce pollution in lagoons, including sanitation and disinfection of public places as part of efforts at curbing the spread of COVID-19,” the governor said.
He added that LAWMA also introduced the construction, demolition and Disaster Waste Management initiative to prevent, minimise, reuse, recycle, recover and dispose waste, adding that the Blue Box initiative that was introduced to the system to encourage separation of recyclables materials from the general waste.
He disclosed that five community recycling centres have been activated in five local council development areas with recyclers strategically positioned to help drive the process.