Lagos residents choking under refuse despite LAWMA’s return


Despite the return of the Lagos Waste Management Agency (LAWMA) with its business model, which helped it rid the state of refuse, when it worked alongside Private Sector Partnership (PSP) operators, effective refuse management in the state has remained a major challenge.Across the state, heaps of refuse, which not long ago were becoming uncommon are now staging a comeback, a development, which has forced residents to charge the government to wake up to its responsibilities.

LAWMA’s return was as a result of the failure of the very elaborate Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI), (which was spearheaded by Visionscape Sanitation Solutions), and aimed at ridding the state of mounting debris, which predisposed it to epidemic outbreak.

The CLI was introduced by the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration to, among other things, make the environment cleaner, safer, improve it and generally make it healthier for all Lagosians. But two years after its introduction, most residents of the state were unconvinced that it had succeeded in promoting a harmonised and holistic approach to the challenge of waste management.

In these and many other areas of the state, refuse is left un-cleared for weeks, contrary to the one-week interval that used to be the case, as far as the collection of refuse from homes is concerned. Illegal refuse dumpsites, which have continued to sprout up at bus stops, street medians and sundry places are not faring better either, as they are now not evacuated for weeks, thereby constituting an eyesore here and there.

According to Opeyemi Ojo, a resident of Gowon Estate, refuse collectors only recently started coming to the area to cart away refuse and clear the emerging illegal dumpsites, including the one by the bus stop. “But last week, when I was going through Egbeda, I saw heaps of refuse dotting parts of the area,” he said

Bankole Adeshina is worried that after heaps of refuse that dotted Igando-Isheri Road were carted away by the PSP operators, trash is again gradually taking over the median on the road, “and very soon, it would become a source of concern.”He equally decried the attitude of waste collectors, who are in the habit of parking their trucks in the middle of the roads while clearing refuse, and in the process cause traffic snarls.

“Waste collectors when they are doing their assignments park their trucks indiscriminately in the middle of the road. This slows down traffic on the route. Governor Akinwunmi Ambode promised to shut down the dumpsite close to Alimosho General Hospital about 15 months ago, but has failed to do that. This has become an eyesore in the neighbourhood,” he said.

Also, Adebola Ajayi, who resides in the Oshodi area of the state noted that there is a heap of refuse that is getting bigger by the day on Adewale Crescent. Apart from this, roads and drainage networks in the area are gradually being taken over by dirt. For Grace Edema, Abule-Egba, Meiran and Agege have no positive stories to tell despite the return of LAWMA to refuse collection.She said residents were now forced to drop their refuse at bus stops because the PSP operators were no longer coming to pick up the trash.

Edema added that bagged wastes now decorate the median along Meiran Road leading to Ile-Iwe, just as she lamented that Agege stinks as a result of mounting refuse. Corroborating Edema’s view, Moyo Akinfenwa said residents of parts of Abule-Egba have forgotten what it means to have government agents cart their trash away.