By Lukman Olabiyi, Lagos
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has unveiled a set of 102 locally assembled trucks for the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) to boost effective waste management in the state.
Apart from the vehicles which were locally designed and assembled in the state, the governor also commissioned 100 double dino bins that were also fabricated by LAWMA for public use.
The governor disclosed that his administration has invested over N2 billion towards rehabilitating dumpsites, with another N1 billion being invested in the construction of three new transfer loading stations to provide the necessary infrastructure to facilitate the effective delivery of solid waste management services.
This, he said, is to fulfil his administration’s determination to secure the public and environmental health of the state, as well as improve the environment’s aesthetic value.
‘Today, we take delivery of 102 waste collection vehicles comprising thirty 12 cubic meter compactor trucks; sixty 24 cubic meter compactor trucks; 12 hook loaders and 100 double dino bins. This represents one of the largest singular investments ever in the waste management sector in the state. We are confident that the addition of these assets to our existing ones will very quickly bring about very visible improvements in waste evacuation and reduce the incidence of black spots that blight our roads and clog our drains,’ he said.
‘But this is only the beginning; we are thinking well beyond the basics of waste collection and disposal. We are focused on permanently changing the habits and mindsets of Lagosians regarding the management of waste; inculcating a culture of responsible usage, and of sorting and recycling.
‘We are also fully aware of the potential of the waste economy. Our waste-to-wealth plan is taking shape, as we are rehabilitating the compost facility in Odogunyan and will be unveiling more projects/programs in the coming months.
‘I urge Lagosians to act responsibly always. We cannot continue to litter our roads, dump waste on the roadside or in illegal dumpsites, or patronise cart-pushers for waste disposal. We cannot be irresponsible in our waste handling and disposal behaviour and somehow expect that we will be spared the consequences of irresponsibility. The quality of our environment directly impacts the quality of the lives we live. A clean environment is a major weapon against COVID-19 and other public health challenges.’
Speaking on the occasion, Commissioner for Environment Mr Tunji Bello noted that LAWMA is confronted with managing about 13,000 tonnes of solid waste daily. ‘This intervention will help to address the challenges faced by LAWMA in the management of solid waste. Most importantly, it will help to end bulk moving operations and waste management intervention programmes in the waste management budgetary allocation.
‘This major intervention is not a stop-gap measure, it is more about investing in people and social development. It is an indirect investment in healthcare, and this is ultimately towards the goal of improving the quality of life of the people in the most complete manner possible.’
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of LAWMA, Mr Ibrahim Odumboni, described the local assemblage of the trucks as the first of its kind.
‘The volume of wastes generated in the state is so huge that we need mobile waste management trucks in good working condition to effectively manage it. This is why Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has given us much of the things we require to function. The new trucks will be distributed to cover major areas in Lagos and, as such, there is no excuse not to deliver,’ Odumboni said.
‘Waste management is a big sector in Lagos, one of the world’s fastest-growing megacities and Africa’s most populous. Residents generate an estimated 13,000 metric tonnes of waste daily. In the sector, 6,000 people have been employed. There are many Private Sector Participators (PSPs) who spoke also of 550 trucks in their fleet.’
The government has embarked on the rehabilitation of all dumpsites in the state, according to Odumboni, who said efforts are ongoing to convert wastes to energy.
‘We will get to that point in this administration when electricity will be generated from wastes. We have a mandate from the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources to deliver and we understand the peculiarity of Lagos, so we want to ensure that things are done properly,’ he said.
The LAWMA boss advised residents to continue to patronise the PSP operators and pay them promptly. Besides, residents, he said, should stop desecrating the environment with wastes and throwing refuse in the drains.
Regarding the interest of investors in the sector, Odumboni said: ‘For the PSP, we have about 457 operators and the majority of them have at least three trucks. LAWMA is still working to bring more investors into the waste management cycle.’
He described the Olusosun dumpsite, the biggest in the state, as an old facility that has been in existence for 27 years, adding that there are plans to migrate the site to a state of energy.
‘We are intensifying efforts to turn wastes to energy; wastes can be extracted and turned to energy,’ Odumboni affirmed.
He said that LAWMA is working on a consistently cleaner Lagos and LAWMA has created an app where residents can monitor all environmental infractions.