Lagos launches solid waste management reform
New realities are rising with the dawn of innovative technologies in solid waste management, with the Lagos authorities wielding the ‘big stick’ in surprise moves to rescue the state from the inefficiency of the Private Sector Participation (PSP) operators.
In this latest intervention, the Lagos government has launched ‘Cleaner Lagos Initiative’ to addressing the existing challenges and create enabling environment for the private sector to harness international best practice. Lagos generates between 9,000-10,000 metric tons of waste per day.
The initiative is expected to addressing the lacunae in the existing legislation to expand the scope of the State’s Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) to enable it enforce, regulate and generate revenue from the waste management process as well as protect the environment, human health and social living standards of Lagos residents.
The Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Samuel Adejare, who announced the development to the media, said that, besides creating the enabling environment for the private sector to harness international best practices, the Cleaner Lagos Initiative is likewise concerned with addressing the existing challenges in solid waste management in the state.
Dr. Adejare, who was in the company of the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, said: “The PSP and LAWMA partnership was quite effective, but is no longer applicable, considering the fact that the population of Lagos has increased several fold (and still increasing) and the over 300 compactors in use are old and in a state of dis-use.
“ Wastes should not bring us hardship and shame, but rather we should make money from it. Emphasis will be on zero-dumping, recycling and generation of power from wastes.”
Under the proposed reform, government will carry out a re-certification of all the 350 PSP operators, relicense them and audit the state of their compactors.
Government will also transform the existing Transfer Loading Station (TLS) and introduce about of 25 Material Revolving Facility (MRF) where wastes will be sorted, 600 new compactor vehicles will be acquired, and waste dumpsites will be closed and replaced with engineered sanitary landfill sites.
He said that in the present system, regular waste collection is hindered by a vicious cycle between clients and operators as poor collection service delivery leads to irregular and poor payments.
Adejare noted that LAWMA in its role as regulator is overwhelmed by the responsibilities of having to coordinate the activities of 350 individual companies and still carry out its own collection services; billing system is unduly complicated due to differences and inconsistencies in charges and collection routes.
The reform will include establishment of five new power stations – one in each division in the state, which will be built to generate power from wastes, and closure of the Olusosun and Solus dumpsites next year.
“We plan to regenerate Olusosun and turn it into a park, where intercity buses will end their journey and would no longer be allowed to enter into the city. Passengers will from here now take taxis and intra-city buses to their destinations in town.
“Also, we will have about 25,000 community sanitation workers who will be engaged mostly as street sweepers. They will be well kitted with decent uniforms, gloves, boots, pickers, brushes, carts as well as mobile phones with which to communicate with the control centre. And they will be well paid.
“Every sanitation worker will reside in the Ward they operate for convenience and to curb high cost of transport to work. They will be well trained and given an attractive welfare package. In all, we hope to generate a total of 46,000 new jobs,” he said.