The pigs, which are daily spotted in several parts of Lagos where piles of refuse deface roads, walkways and medians, leisurely stroll in for their feast
Menacingly dotting the Lagos landscape are heaps of refuse, from which emanates pungent stench.
READ ALSO: Lagos: City of Refuse
In the past many months, the mega city seems to have returned to an inglorious era, wearing a garb of filth. Major roads, highways and inner streets have once again become refuse dumps. Mountains of refuse glare at you as you walk or drive by.
The refuse, which has become increasingly difficult for waste disposal officials to evacuate, have continued to debase and deface the environment, posing public health concerns.
This development, which has left residents at the mercy of rodents and other disease-spreading vectors, started when the state government disbanded the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiative, a collection and disposal system created by the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA). VisionScape was brought in as a replacement, under the Clean Lagos Initiative. The foreign firm,
it was learnt, was expected to apply advanced technology to waste management in the state.
With the introduction of VisionScape, many residents were optimistic that an improved environmental hygiene and sustainable cleanliness would be achieved. But that was not to be.
The involvement of the company created considerable tension among the PPP operators who saw
the new officials as threats to their businesses. The PPP operators suddenly abandoned their duty posts, refusing to collect refuse in protest against the new sanitation initiative of the state government. They eventually dragged the state government and the foreign firm to court.
As the bickering continued, coupled with attempts by the relevant authorities to resolve the impasse, heaps of garbage piled up in different parts of Lagos.
Overwhelmed by the mountains of waste in all parts of the city, it became difficult for VisionScape to manage the about 13,000 metric tons of waste generated daily by the state.
And sadly, the city of excellence steadily slipped back into the refuse culture, with hundreds of illegal dumpsites once again springing up on road medians, roundabouts, junctions and on the waterways.
In several parts of the state where refuse took over roads, vehicles were forced to move in a single lane and in some instances, drive partly on the walkway to wriggle past mountains of refuse.
Hapless pedestrians were not spared the onslaught of filth, as they were compelled to partly step on the refuse, while holding their breath to avoid inhaling the stench.
Within this period, Waste Watch Africa, a community-oriented organisation focused on researching, implementing, and disseminating sustainable waste management solutions in Africa, listed Lagos as the fourth dirtiest city in Nigeria after Onitsha, Aba and Kaduna.
“Transiting around Lagos city lately, one would see an island of refuse dump all over public places. Lagos is the most populous city in Nigeria, with a population of about 18 million people, which many people have argued to be population congestion. The overpopulated nature of the state, coupled with inadequate infrastructure, the lawlessness of the citizens and the inefficiency of the waste operator is a contributing factor to waste being dumped all over public places,” the report stated.
Shortly after the damning report, Nigerian Infopedia, an online information source also dubbed Lagos as the dirtiest city in Nigeria.
Their report noted: “Lagos has been dubbed the dirtiest place in Nigeria this year. Aside from the fact that Lagos state is the most populated state in the country and one of the most developed, it has failed to lead in that regard.”
Meanwhile, in 2017, the Economist Magazine ranked Lagos second as the world’s least liveable city, behind Damascus. This was contained in an annual report by The Economist, which saw Lagos fall from the third position it had occupied in the 2016 report.
In the wake of the embarrassing situation and damning reports, the Lagos State House of Assembly ordered the 20 Local Governments and 37 Local Council Areas (LCDAs) to call the PPP operators in their areas back to work.
Speaker of the House, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, who gave the directive, said there was the need to be proactive to avert an epidemic from breaking out in the state.
Though the directive was implemented immediately, as several PPP trucks were seen evacuating refuse, their efforts have seemed like a mere drop of water in an ocean.
A trip round Lagos revealed a revolting spectacle that thoroughly traumatises the eyes. Markets, streets, bus stops, and road medians are still clogged by mounds of refuse dumped by residents. There appears to be delays in the evacuation of refuse, and many who can’t stand keeping the bagged refuse in their homes still pile them up into heaps on the roadsides, causing air and land pollution.
Right now, benefiting from the abundance of the filths are assorted pigs. In some parts of Lagos, what you see are sounders of swine and drifts of piglets feeding fat on the refuse by the roadside.
The pigs, which are daily spotted in several parts of Lagos where piles of refuse deface the roads, walkways and medians, leisurely stroll in for their feast, undeterred by the human presence. Vehicles and pedestrians are forced to share the road with these animals.
A resident of Mile 2 lamented that the animals are not only eyesores, they also portend danger for motorists and pedestrians, as they sometimes take over the road.
“If you’re walking from Mazamaza to Mile 2. For instance, you will notice so many pigs in the area. They move about without fear, as their food is always ready along that road. Refuse have taken over the road. We also have the drivers and assistants of the drivers of those articulated vehicles parked between Mazamaza and Mile 2 defecating and messing up the area. So the pigs have more than enough reason to make the area their permanent address.
Traders in Ikotun Market have also raised the alarm that the menace of pigs within the area is becoming alarming. They noted that aside the enormous sizes of the pigs, the animals usually mess
up the environment by scattering refuse everywhere while scavenging for food.
They lamented that the stench from the heaps of garbage, which have extended to the front of their shops, have drastically reduced patronage, as customers are being discouraged from coming to the axis. They appealed to the Lagos State government to expedite action on fast, efficient waste disposal system within the state.
For residents of Mile 2 Estate, the sight of robust-looking pigs feeding fat on refuse dumped indiscriminately within the estate has become quite worrisome. They lamented that the pigs have resorted to chasing passers-by.
A resident said: “They breed uncontrollably and their numbers keep increasing. We can’t recall how they got to the estate, but the first step to getting rid of them is by ensuring that refuse is no longer dumped uncontrollably within our environment. However, the state government must get the issue of waste collection and disposal sorted urgently.”
Peter Oje, an environmentalist, said there should be a strong awareness programme towards making residents cultivate the habit of not littering the environment with dirt.
He stressed that the consciousness has to start with individuals. He warned that failure to cultivate habits that pay premium attention to good environmental practices would highly endanger the lives of Lagos residents.