Dirt, unsanitary conditions and improper waste disposal litter the streets of Lagos! Lagos streets are dirty and Lagos Waste Disposal Authority (LAWMA) seems to be sleeping and epidemics looms in this era of exotic diseases like Ebola, Monkey Pox and all what not. This is Lagos, a city that prides herself as the center of excellence!
In our fast urbanizing global society, solid waste management will be a key challenge facing all the world’s cities, most cities are becoming creative on how to manage this waste and also keeping an eye on the renewables, sensitisations and global best practise ,in regards to the environment.
Lagos, a city state in pursuit of excellence and quest to the be amongst the top liveable cities, at least in sub Saharan Africa. A city with bust of energy and population, mired by infrastructural deficit and above all proper waste disposal system. Lagos is desirous to make the much needed change but factors are militating against this desired change !
A drive through most of Lagos street particularly the Mainland part of the city, one would be forced to be accustomed to the new site – dirty roads,unsightly and unconventional waste disposal including potholes that litter the roads. One would be forced to ask, are the local council people blind ? Today, most of the roads and the streets have turned to dump sites. A drive from Iayan Ipaja , Abesan Estate, Gowon Estate to Ayobo and environs, individuals will witness such an eyesore! Apart from this area, the Egbeda axis isn’t left behind. It’s a questions of filts, dirt and trash everywhere .
In a state that prides itself as centre of excellence, one begins to wonder ,what is excellent about a dirty street or an agency that has demonstrated inefficiency and seems bouyed to put a smear in the face of the present adminstration.
Handling waste has been nightmarish for major cities of the world and Lagos , a city with about 20 million resident isn’t an exception. But, it takes a systematic approach to handle this part of our lives via sorting , cleaning and disposing , an act the Lagos and other Nigerian cities are yet to come to terms with .
With no proper recycling and low awarenesses program by the authority that is mandated to handle such. Residents are left to sort themselves out and don’t know the proper thing to do , which is putting plastics and polymers in the same trash bag. Mind you, 80% of these residents don’t have trash bins! Pls bags of rice are used here , no state approved trash bins and the open market trash bins that are available is expensive ranging from N17,000.00 to N20,000.00 in a state that is struggling to pay the monthly minimum wage of N18,000.00 ! And the trash must be disposed,how it is done is inconsequential. This is the situation that the state had found itself – a quagmire of some sort.
Nobody is telling Lagos State government to start reinventing the wheel. They shouldn’t bother with that , it has been done but ,they should at least copy from other cities. Take Singapore, a city state like Lagos for instance.
Noted to be squeaky clean , this is because Singapore buries only a fraction of its trash.
According to a report by The Wall Street Journal “Thisble, wealthy city-state crammed on an island 3½ times the size of Washington, D.C., sends only 2% of its solid waste to landfill, burns 38% of it to generate electricity and recycles the remaining 60%.”
The report also stated that ” It’s a model that other cities would do well to emulate. Cities world-wide generate about 1.3 billion tons of solid waste a year—an amount that is expected to reach 2.2 billion tons by 2025, driven mainly by lower-income countries, according to the World Bank.”
Singapore also turned to incinerating waste, which both reduced the volume going into landfills and produced electricity. Now its four waste-to-energy plants account for almost 3% of the country’s electricity needs, and recycling rates are at an all-time high of 60%. By comparison, the U.S. sent 53% of its solid waste to landfills in 2013, recycled only 34% of waste and converted 13% into electricity, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the report added.
With the available funds at the disposal of the state, Lagos can key into the global best practice and have an efficient waste disposal system. Though, the arrangements of public private partnership ( PPP) between the state and the collectors can he said to be innovative. Though, the private firms handling the waste have decried the low complained of residents in paying their waste bills ,this has hampered their effective waste collection and dampened the moral of these companies.
As the waste pile in the streets of Lagos, the tendency for an epidemics looms. A better approach has to be involved in making the Lagos street healthier, sightly again. The need for the waste managers to fold their sleeves is imperative . Failure to do this, Lagos as a city state will drift to the years of mountain of refuse .