Waste Management in Lagos: Matters Arising
TVC presenter, Abosede Omoruyi did a documentary on Lagos women street sweeper. It was titled ‘The Untold Stories of the Eko Unsung Heroes: Lagos Street Sweepers'. Why did she choose that story? Morning Crossfire today features the work of Abosede who says she chose the story because on passing through Lagos she sees many women, of course there are some men, but there are more women on the streets working from morning till evening.
“Looking at Lagos vehicle drivers, and the traffic situation, I realize that these women, despite the dangers, risks all that look at them straight in the face, they still go ahead doing their job. Some of us are just very inconsiderate in the way we drive around them, not minding the situation, the destination is what we look at all the time.
“So, I thought; why not just talk about these people, what they go through on a daily basis, and the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism program provided an opportunity to look into that. We also provided the space for conversation with some of these women including a man. The findings back then was what they said about the welfare package, as at that time, they were paid N12,000 in 2017, which was N6,000 less than the N18,000 minimum wage at the period. They also mentioned that at most times, they could be owed four to five months salary. At the end of the five months, they could just get only one month out of five months payment and there were no plans for payment of the arrears or backup.”
MD/CEO LAWMA, Mr. Oladimeji Oresanya responds by saying that the issue is no longer what it used to be. “I think the narrative has changed. I think we need to go back to the streets and ask people some more questions and I’m sure you’ll be happy about what’s going on.
“Between 2015 and 2018 a lot of things changed and those things mentioned were part of the things that changed. If the street sweepers have a problem, the average person on the street has a problem also because the entire streets of Lagos were filled. Now the street workers are getting N18,500 as salaries. We are yet to review that in harmony with the new minimum wage. The Lagos State government is yet to issue a statement in this regard.”
In Lagos, as Sherif Quadri points, people just throw waste on one corner of the street and it keeps piling up and gets bigger and bigger. What can be done about that?
Oresanya says that the Lagos state government has some plans to make sure that the department is equipped with resources and technology “so we can see waste as resource and not just something to be discarded. So it depends on understanding, having the right perspectives, technology, and what to do with it. But when you look at the waste management service chain, before you give value, the first thing is to collect efficiently well. Waste is a resource. You can convert it to whatever you like. The first thing in the serve chain is the collection. You must have efficient collection service."
Is LAWMA doing an efficient job?
Oresanya believes that pre-2015, the efficiency level was well over 80 percent but in recent times, the efficiency level has fallen. “We are trying to restore the efficiency level now to make sure that we push it above 90 percent.”
Wemimo points out that Lagos is home to more than 20,000 people and the amount of waste generated is in thousands of tons. Recently, the World Bank made an estimate, which Lagos state government also agreed with that rating, saying that per capita waste per person in Lagos is 1.2 kg.
The incoming MD/CEO of Lawma, says that the main goal of LAWMA, going forward, is to reduce the amount of waste going to the waste landfills.
"This can be achieved through sorting. As it is now, we dump all our waste into the thrash and forget about such things as plastics that can be reused. We need to embrace the three Rs; reduce, reuse, and recycle. The goal of LAWMA right now is to reduce the amount of the waste going to landfills to about 30 percent of what goes there now.
“The outgoing management has a masterplan in place for about 20 transfer and loading stations throughout Lagos. Also, there will be recycle hubs in every community. We will start with at least 57 of these. We will also distribute color coded bags for sorting the waste and we are going to partner the private recycling companies for this. This will be something that will be driven by the private sector.”
However, since the government of Babajide Sanwo-Olu took up the mantle of leadership, Nigerians have been complaining that LAWMA has not been doing anything.
Follow the conversation and leave your comment regarding this issue
(1) Abosede Omoruyi, Journalist, Broadcaster with TVC, Member of Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism
(2) Mr. Oladimeji Oresanya – MD/CEO LAWMA
(3) Mr. Olugbenga Adebola - PSP Operator/Richbol Environmental Services
(4) Dr. Muyiwa Gbadegeshin - Incoming MD/CEO, LAWMA
WASTE MANAGEMENT IN LAGOS: MATTERS ARISING
Morning Crossfire with Wemimo (@wemimospot) & Sheriff (@SheriffQuadry)
Written by Jude Chukwuemeka