...Seeks stakeholders’ support in treatment
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Government has identified several factors affecting efficiency of wastewater management in the state, saying that it generates about 2.2 billion cubic meter of wastewater every day.
This came as government sought for collaboration of stakeholders in the efficient wastewater management of the state.
Lagos State, with estimated population of 20 million people, the government is faced with inadequate wastewater treatment infrastructure to treat wastewater generated in the state.
Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tunji Bello, stated this at a community awareness programme, with the theme: Wastewater Management and Community Involvement,” organised by Waste Management Office, held at Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.
According to Bello “One of the critical challenges confronting the Lagos State Government is the management of the huge volume of wastewater generated daily by residents of the state.
“However, as a government, we have taken and will continue to take decisive bold steps to confront the wastewater challenge.
“In 2010, we established the Lagos State Wastewater Management Office to oversee the proper management of wastewater in the State.
“A 5 year plan was also developed to set the path for the development of the sector. In 2017, the Environmental Management and Protection Law was passed and part IX was dedicated to wastewater management to provide the necessary legislative framework for the agency.
“We have increased our wastewater treatment infrastructure outlay by building wastewater treatment plants in five General Hospitals, namely: Shomolu, Surulere, Ifako- Ijaiye, some Lagos HOMS estates, Modular Septage Pre-treatment Plants in six locations, among others.
“We developed the capacity of staff in the sector by exposing them to trainings, both locally and abroad for effective administration of their duties, hosting of many stakeholders engagements, among many other achievements.
“Truly, we are not where we ought to be in the wastewater sector, but we are not relenting, we are resilient, we are focused to actualize our set goals and objectives.
“We understand, as a government, that there are still a lot ground to cover in actualizing our aspirations for the wastewater sector; we are indeed committed to achieving these objectives but we need you to commit yourself too, as communities, as opinion leaders, as practitioners, as followers, as parents, as children, as students, as employers, as employees, among.
“We need your support because you are the original producers of wastewater.
“In order to strengthen the Wastewater sector and indeed the Water sector, the Ministry is working assiduously on the WASH policy to make it more robust and ensure it addresses the challenges of the Water sector.
“We are also striving to reduce the impact of flooding on our environment, we are providing more public toilets, we are improving our waste management efforts, and many more.
“Our aim as a government is to open up the sector and attract private investments. This is the way to go. We count on your support as we embark on this journey to actualize the 2nd pillar of the T.H.E.M.E.S. Agenda of the present administration, which is Health and Environment.
“I therefore, on behalf of Mr. Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, welcome all participants, from all parts of the state and beyond, to a fruitful deliberation at this forum.
“You can be rest assured that your recommendations will receive the best regards of Mr Governor.”
General Manager Waste Management Office, Engr. Adebola Matanmi, also speaking at the event explained that the forum was organized with the overall goal of achieving the wastewater management plan of the state.
Presenting an overview of wastewater management in Lagos State from the 1950s till date, the GM stated, “In the 1950s, sewage (or wastewater as we later refer to it) has for a long time been known and considered a potential health risk and environmental nuisance in Lagos State.
“For many decades, the pail system was used for storage of domestic sewage during the day with night soil men (elebe oru mascara) coming to pick and dispose it in the Lagos Lagoon or other water bodies and farmlands.
“During this period, a major proportion of the population used open defecation, pit latrines, ventilated improved pit latrines.
“In the late 80s, the State Government enacted the ” abolition of pail latrine system” law to eradicate the use of pail latrine system and to provide for the construction of the Water Closet and its accessory.
“During this period, the state government also constructed five Wastewater Treatment Plants at Abesan, Oke-Afa, Amuwo- Odofin and Iponri Low Cost Housing Estates and the Secretariat, Alausa to usher in an era of contemporary wastewater management in the state.
“In 2010, the State Government put in place an institutional framework for the effective management of wastewater through the establishment of the Lagos State Wastewater Management Office (LSWMO).”
Speaking on the current reality of wastewater management in the state, Matanmi said, “Lagos State currently generates about 2.20 million cubic meter of untreated domestic wastewater daily, based on a 120 liter water use per person per day (Source: LWC)”
Also, Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Engr. Nurudeen Shodeinde, said, “All of us generate wastewater every day. When we take our bath, cook our food, use the toilet, when we pee, brush our teeth, wash our clothes and cars, Ong others, the water used for these activities end up as wastewater.
“In Lagos State, the over 20 million population generates about 2.2 billion cubic meter of wastewater every day.
“Wastewater, if not adequately treated will pollute our ground and surface water, pollute our environment and result in increased incidences of diseases. This is because wastewater is laden with pathogenic (or harmful) organisms that ought to be removed during treatment.
“Our responsibility as a government is to ensure that wastewater is adequately treated before it is released into the environment.
“Your responsibility is to support government to actualize this goal. Unfortunately, majority of us dont take up this responsibility.
“We dont care about how and where we dispose our wastewater. We deliberately puncture our septic tanks and allow the untreated wastewater to ooze out. We construct septic tanks too close to our neighbours borehole.
“The essence of this meeting therefore is to sensitize us on appropriate ways of managing wastewater.
“Our convocation is to engage ourselves in initiating a process that will ensure sustainable wastewater management in Lagos State. To stimulate ideas, share insights, learn and re-learn.”
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