In this instalment of the report that started on Friday and continued on Sunday, officials of the Lagos State government explained the rationale behind the introduction of a new waste collection and management policy.
THE governor also noted thus: “To carry out a reform is not easy and we did not want to leave anything to chance”. He explained that the issue of litigation with the PSP refuse operators cannot hamper CLI, as the contractual agreement with the PSP operators to manage waste expired since July 2016. He pointed out that the state government was ready to partner with the litigants and was working on achieving harmony in that regard.
Heap of refuse in Lagos
“This soft lunch is to make sure our city is not dirty. There are about 350 PSP operators and we have 25 million Lagosians. Do we want to satisfy 350 to the detriment of 25 million people?” he queried. “This is not about PSP. PSP were our contractors. Their contract expired last July. They have no subsisting agreement to work with us,” Ambode said.
The governor who disclosed that 600 compactors were being sourced from various countries for waste management purposes in the state said the state targets about 5,000 compactors within the next five years. He added that transfer loading stations in the state would be transformed into organised and well structured waste recycling systems.
Also speaking at the occasion, Mr Harry Ackerman, Executive Director, Visionscape, said that the company would eliminate dump sites in residential areas in the first phase of the project being launched.
Ackerman said that phase two was going to target total elimination of waste from households. Visionscape’s head of Corporate Communications and Corporate Services, Mrs. Motunrayo Elias said that the organisation had the manpower and equipment to keep Lagos clean and that the project will create several jobs for residents of the state, adding that Visionscape would commence phase one of the company’s implementation strategy, with ‘Operation Deep Clean’ on July 1.
“Visionscape has made provisions to ensure that there would not be dump sites again in the state. We have trucks and tricycles to run and collect refuse in every part of Lagos even the riverine areas, and we run a 24 hours operations,” Elias said.
She also said that in a few weeks time, the company would roll out an advocacy programme to educate the public on better ways to handle wastes, especially hazardous ones.
Cleaner Lagos: Motorised trucks to sweep Lagos highways
In line with the objective of CLI which champions zero tolerance for environmental infractions in the state, Lagos highways are now to be swept by motorised trucks across Lagos metropolis.
Before now highway managers were employed by LAWMA to sweep the highways in Lagos, a situation the promoters of CLI say endangered the lives of the sweepers and exposed them to the risk of being knocked down by vehicles plying the highways.
Disclosing this at a recent press conference, the Executive Secretary of the newly established Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps, LAGESC, Mrs. Idowu Mohammed, said the top priority of her new agency which replaced the former Kick Against Indiscipline, KAI, of the state government, as it commences operation officially, is to ensure that environmental infractions become a thing of the past in the state.
Mrs. Mohammed said LAGESC will henceforth prevent market women and traders generally from displaying their wares on the roads, adding the Corps would now be used to police the highways to ensure that people do not dump refuse indiscriminately on the roads in order to ensure a cleaner Lagos.
“The sanitation Corps will now clear the pathways and bridges and dislodge people selling on the road. They will make sure that the roads are clean and there are no infractions. They will make sure that the Public Utility Levy is paid by residents of Lagos state,” LAGESC boss noted.
Assuring Lagos residents that the new Corps will carry out its responsibilities with international best practices, he said gone were the days when KAI officials conducted their affairs in less civilised manners.
According to her: “We are out to serve the residents with all civility and decorum. The government’s aim is to provide and promote a cleaner and healthy environment, devoid of indiscriminate dumping of refuse and drainage blockade. The motorised trucks would now sweep the highways, and the over 27,000 of the 30,000 sweepers that would be recruited would be made to sweep streets in their communities and be paid salaries above the N18,000 minimum wage.
Effective enforcement and total compliance
“Under the Cleaner Lagos Initiative, 30,000 jobs will be created for sweepers. We have an agreement backed up by the Lagos State Government. In the old waste management system, wastes were collected, but the disposal mechanism was the problem”.
In her contribution, the Managing Director, Solid Waste Management SWM Solutions, a consultant to the Lagos State government, Tolagbe Martins, assured the public of better days ahead in waste management, pointing out that the Cleaner Lagos Initiative is incomplete without effective enforcement and total compliance, adding that this is where LAGESC will play a dominant role.
“The aim of Cleaner Lagos Initiative is to create an enabling environment for investment. The passage of the law enabling private sector participation in waste management has made it a reality. The Public Utility Levies, PUL, is a property-based charge applicable to all property within the state.
“It has replaced all previous waste management levies. Under the new dispensation, the Public Utilities Monitoring and Assurance Unit, PUMAU, has been created to coordinate PUL bill generation. The state government has concessioned three landfills under the Build, Own, Operate and Transfer, BOOT, for a period of 25 years. This will take effect from next year,” Mrs. Martins noted.
According to her, pending the readiness of the three landfills, the government would make do with what is available now, pointing out however, that the Olusosun dumpsite would be closed immediately the new landfills are ready for operation.
It will be recalled that Governor Ambode recently announced during the soft launch of the Cleaner Lagos Initiative that the laws had created an enabling environment for the private sector to apply international best practices in solid waste management which will consequently free public funds for other beneficial uses.
However, contrary to earlier July scheduled date for the commencement of the new waste management services, the Lagos State Government has said that the CLI will finally take effect in September 2017.
The General Manager of LAWMA, Mr. Segun Adeniji, said during an event in Alausa that this was aimed at encouraging efficient service delivery among the Lagos State Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, of government under the theme, “Service Charter: Promoting Seamless Access to Government Services.”
Adeniji explained that the initiative is being introduced in a bid to improve service delivery and total compliance to best international practices in the waste management sector in the state. According to the LAWMA boss: “Waste management in Lagos State has come a long way with series of reforms adopted to ensure efficient service delivery by waste managers in the state. “Government in a bid to improve service delivery and total compliance to best international practices in the waste management sector introduced the Cleaner Lagos Initiative, CLI, which will take effect in September 2017.”