The problem of indiscriminate waste dumping at unauthorised spots spreading across the 20 local governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas of Lagos has continued to threaten the state’ s dream of becoming an appreciable mega city.
The World Health Organisation has posited that over 2 . 4 billion people could be at risk of potentially fatal diseases if the issue of waste disposal persists , as is often witnessed in Lagos .
Until the state government announced the ongoing lockdown to curb COVID – 19 spread , it was not unusual to see filth on major roads and also in backwater streets of Lagos .
‘ Why we dump refuse indiscriminately’
Residents of Lagos State had attributed their indiscriminate disposal of wastes by roadsides, bus stops and other unapproved spots to the ‘ poor attitude’ of Lagos State Waste Management Authority to the problem .
Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise , Mrs . Angela Ezechi , a civil servant , condemned the waste management officials attached to her Thomas Street on Lagos Mainland, accusing them of ‘ dereliction of duty. ’
“ How can I be paying N 600 monthly for waste disposal and still be begging LAWMA to pick up my garbage ?
It is uncalled for.
“ The only alternative is to allow my children to throw the bags of waste either at the bus stop or by the road where other residents also deposit theirs, ” she said .
Another resident, Kehinde Badmus , shared her sentiment.
“ Until now , these LAWMA people don’ t like coming around to pack refuse .
And when they eventually show up , you have to practically fight them before you can be allowed to haul your waste into the garbage truck .
The result is what we see at bus stops and other roadsides you mentioned , ” he said .
Our Correspondent reports that two closest bus stops to these Lagos residents — Costain and Mobil — regularly feature heaps of refuse .
However , in some areas, regular waste collection seems to have resumed again , especially since the Federal Government announced that LAWMA should be granted exemption , along with medical officials , uniformed personnel and vendors of food and essential medicines, to move unhindered during the lockdown .
How to manage solid waste
In an article, “ Issues in the environmental sanitation of Lagos mainland, ” published in The Environmentalist journal , an environmentalist, Afolabi Adedibu , said the influx of people into Lagos metropolitan area has been without corresponding technology to cope with the solid waste generated by the ever -increasing population.
“ Coupled with this lack of technology is the lack of adequate knowledge of the composition and generation rate of the refuse , which has led to mismanagement of the environment .
“ Paper and nylon waste is identified to constitute the major form of waste generated in Lagos .
And , in most cases , over 90 percent of the wastes generated are combustible , therefore , the use of incineration is recommended for effective management of the refuse , ” Adedibu advised.
Waste evacuation amid the lockdown in areas like Mafoluku, Ajao Estate , Oke -Afa , Isolo and Igando , according to residents has been effective .
Most of the landlords and residents told our Correspondent that PSP operators in charge of the areas had kept dates with days earmarked for refuse evacuation .
Though, they agreed that refuse turnout in homes had increased considerably , noting that government should be proactive in ensuring that solid waste disposal does not pose danger to residents of the areas.
Mountainous heap of refuse
At the Oke- Afa dumpsite, Isolo , it was a different ball game entirely.
The dump, which had been dormant for a while , seemed to have revved back to life with refuse gradually forming a mountainous heap .
A flurry of human activities could also be noticed as young men and children could be seen rummaging through the refuse mound.
Pockets of refuse also lined the side of the road , despite the huge signpost glaringly warning residents not to dump refuse on the site or its surroundings .
Food market amidst refuse dump
The Oke- Afa dump, which is surrounded by residential buildings , houses a mini abattoir and a foodstuff market .
It is also in close proximity to the General Hospital, Isolo .
The lingering nauseous smell presently hanging in the air has raised some concerns among residents , who fear that it might have some health implications .
According to a resident of Peter Agha , a street close to the dumpsite , who simply wanted to be identified as Simeon , people have capitalised on the lockdown to dispose refuse indiscriminately at the dumpsite and also inside the canal beside it .
He noted that on a regular day , such practice would attract huge penalty from local law enforcers lurking around the area .
“ The smell here now is made worse as water in the canal is stagnant .
Until it rains , we might have to bear this .
The problem is, for how long , especially now that the president has extended the lockdown , ” he lamented .
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