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Dirtiest cities in the World
In this photo taken Friday, Jan, 24. 2014, a scavenger in Lagos, Nigeria sorts out iron and plastic to sell at the Olusosun dump site the city's largest dump. With a population of more than 21 million, garbage piles up on streets, outside homes and along the waterways and lagoons, creating eyesores and putrid smells. The booming city also has major electricity shortages and many residents rely on diesel generators that cloud the air with black exhaust. Nigeria's most populous city is turning these problems into an advantage by starting a program to convert waste into methane gas to generate electricity. A pilot program at a local market has already shown success on a smaller scale. Lagos’ waste management program is also organizing recycling to clean up the country's biggest city. (AP Photo/ Sunday Alamba)

LAWMA and Poor Waste Management Practices in Lagos State

In June, Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode launched CLI – an abbreviation for Cleaner Lagos Initiative and the Lagos Environmental Sanitation Corps, LAGESC, to alleviate the problem of environmental pollution in Lagos state. In this article, we look at the poor waste management practices in Lagos that led to the introduction of CLI and LAGESC in line with world practices.

Lagos has been described as the largest waste-generating state in the country, as over 15,000 metric tonnes of waste is believed to be generated in the state every day, as a result poor management practices in Lagos cannot be overlooked or condoned.

In 2007, the Lagos Waste Management Authority was instituted to tackle the worrisome and health threatening menace of waste in the state which had already become an environmental nuisance at the time.

LAWMA was created by law to ensure proper collection and disposal of waste in the Lagos metropolis, and invariably, improve the poor waste management practices in Lagos state . Though there has been an improvement since they began operations but there still seems to be a void somewhere.

In recent times, the ineptitude of LAWMA has been put on the front burner. There is now an increasing chain of refuse dumps in most parts of the state ahead of the start-off date of the newly inaugurated CLI.

Even some residences of the state have not been spared of the refuse ‘takeover’. Lagosians now dispose refuse indiscriminately, has was the norm several years ago which spells doom for a city with over 21 million inhabitants.

For a state that survived the Ebola outbreak that reared its ugly head three years ago, another outbreak of a health hazard of any kind will be pushing our luck too far.

Accusing fingers point to various directions; some blame the government for its mismanagement, others blame the waste management authorities while the people have not been exonerated either.

Albeit wherever the pendulum swings, the most important thing is not to trade blames but to find solutions to a deteriorating situation and in turn bring sanity to a city that has been named the fastest growing in Africa.

Arguably, the indiscriminate dumping of refuse in many nooks and crannies of the state may have even been responsible for the flood disaster that plagued the Lagos Island, and more disaster could be in the offing if necessary steps are not taken to bring the environmental nuisance to an end.

It has now become common knowledge that LAWMA has not been efficient in its duties with their inconsistencies and untimeliness

Though their task doesn’t come easy and the environmental activities of Lagosians don’t make the situation any better, however they are supposedly paid handsomely for their efforts. Invariably, to whom much is given, much is required.

Citizens are billed and residences are sealed when the needful is not done, hence this must be followed by swift running of the duties they’ve been saddled with.

If citizens still go on to dump refuse in canals, drainages, rivers, along the streets and even on highways then the activities of LAWMA should be questioned without mincing words.

The ban of the monthly environmental sanitation I suppose was done with good intentions, but we still don’t see the justification. It is no longer in doubt that our cities are inundated with the challenges of un-cleared solid wastes.

In addition, the hue and cry over the health consequences of exposed and fermenting rubbish have not been quantified, although their impact is noticeable

The question then is; for how long will Lagos continue to fight to clear mounting heaps of solid waste from their environment. Our strategic centers of beauty, peace and security are being overtaken by the messy nature of over flowing dumps, unattended heaps of solid wastes emanating from household or domestic or kitchen sources, markets, shopping and business centers.

Let’s hope the new Cleaner Lagos Initiative will bring a great level of sanity to an evolving city that is fast becoming the toast of all.



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