That Lagos State has lost the cleanliness that came with the dawn of democracy in 1999, is an understatement. The hitherto friendly sights have now been lost to heaps of refuse across the state. The situation which is becoming a permanent feature on most streets on the Mainland seems to have become a source of worry to most residents.
More worrisome is the seeming impression that little or nothing is being done by relevant agencies to solve the problem. As a result of that some people have no option but to assume that the Lagos State Waste Management Authority, LAWMA, has abdicated its primary responsibility of managing waste generated in the state through a waste collection, transportation and disposal structure.
Even the objective of improving the environment with the impact of achieving positive and significant change in living conditions regarding health and sanitation, is not being achieved as a result of filth which has taken over most areas.
From Mile 2 to Mile 12, Mushin to Okokomaiko, one is faced with the sights of refuse on road the roads. No doubt, this constitutes a public health challenge in addition to the fact that it does not speak well of a state that aims to be a megacity. With a population of over 20 million and an economy regarded as fifth largest in Africa, the state generates 13,000 tonnes of garbage daily.
As things are now, the matter is a social crisis that requires urgent attention from the incoming Governor of the state, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu. I am sure many readers may wonder why I chose to address him as the incoming Governor when elections are yet to hold. The reason is simple: Of all the Governorship candidates, who are jostling to be the Chief Occupant of Alausa Round House, Sanwo-Olu holds all the aces.
His pedigree places him in a class of his own and at the same time, he knows the ingredients that could snatch Lagos from the grip of waste crisis. Some analysts had said that only a miracle can solve the waste problem in the stage but that believe is wrong.
Already, he has promised to employ innovative ways in solving the waste problem.
Specifically, he said if elected, the state would consolidate on the waste management system by getting the Lagos State Waste Management Authority to function better on its mandate as the regulator, while the Private Sector Participants would be made to respond better in waste collection.
“We have plans to turn waste to sustainable wealth. This we will do by incentivising waste sorting by our people,” he added.
Sanwo-Olu’s waste management model as stated by him is to: “keep our environment clean and healthy, we will rejig the waste management system by getting LAWMA to deliver better on its mandate as the regulator, while the PSP model will be made to respond better in collection of waste in Lagos. On the advocacy, we have plans to turn waste to wealth. This we will do by incentivizing waste sorting by our people. We must begin to separate organic waste from other household waste and put them in separate waste bags for recycling companies that will turn waste to primary and secondary raw materials. Those who properly sort their waste can make money.
With his experience at the various MDAs he had worked, I have no doubt that Sanwo-Olu’s ambitious plans for waste management would work.
A confirmation of his ability to make Lagos cleaner manifested in his endorsement by waste management operators when he sponsored free evacuation of waste in the state.