Who says the Lagos State government is not in tune with the aspirations of its denizens?
Just two days after a thisislagos.ng editorial (read here) warned that the rains may bring with them an epidemic should the state government fail to step up efforts in waste management, the Lagos state government has addressed the issue.
The Commissioner for Environment, Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti, on Wednesday said all hands are on deck to holistically address the challenges being experienced in waste management with the implementation of the Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI), assuring that the issue would be addressed before the rainy season.
An official statement signed by Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Habib Aruna, said the Commissioner gave the assurance at the annual Ministerial Press Briefing to mark the third year anniversary of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration.
According to the commissioner, the CLI was introduced last year to foster broad reforms in solid waste management, saying that the scheme remained the panacea for delivering efficient, effective and sustainable environment with its attendant benefits such as job creation, cleaner, safer and healthy environment.
Responding to questions on the state of refuse in public places, the Commissioner said the government, in partnership with all stakeholders, was working hard to address the challenge, just as he assured that it would soon be a thing of the past.
“Very soon, Lagos will be very clean. We are working hard in partnership with all stakeholders to ensure we address the challenges. Both the government and the residents will jointly address the challenges and with Visionscape and the Private Sector Participation (PSP) operators working together, and the cooperation of the people, the challenges would soon be over.
“We know that our population is increasing as available statistics indicate that 85 people enter Lagos every hour and very few of them go back, and as more people come in, the waste generated in the State is also increasing but we are working to put the right infrastructure and equipment in place to address waste management.
“However, one thing I can assure the people is that we are working and in another one month before the raining season, it will be over. We know that the raining season is fast approaching and we are also preparing but I like to assure that soon, the challenges will be surmounted,” Durosinmi-Etti said.
He said 13,958 Community Sanitation Workers (CSW) have so far been employed to sweep inner streets in the 377 political wards in the State, with recruitment exercise still ongoing, adding that under the new arrangement, the sweepers would be directly supervised by the Ministry, while mechanized sweeping would be managed by three companies – Avatar, Wastercare and Corporate Solutions.
He said the PSP operators have now been charged with the responsibility of managing residential and general waste collection, while Visionscape now has the mandate of implementing waste management infrastructure development across the State, in addition to intervening in public waste collection to cover any service lapses that may occur.
On infrastructure, the Commissioner said the retrofitting of Transfer Loading Stations in Agege, Oshodi and Lagos Island had attained over 80 per cent completion with plans for more, while Epe Landfill under construction had achieved remarkable progress with completion of the weigh-in bridge, adding that government in partnership with the private sector would soon commence another engineered hazardous landfill in Erikiti, Badagry.
He also said the responsibility for maintenance of drainage infrastructure across the State had been ceded to the Lagos State Public Works Corporation, while based on ongoing efforts, the challenges to residents following the fire at Olusosun dump site would soon be over.
Speaking on other activities of the Ministry and its agencies, Durosinmi-Etti said the State Government rapidly increased access to safe drinking water by adding 10million gallons per day to bring water supply to 220MGD within the last one year, adding that a total of 48 mini waterworks were rehabilitated in Ikeja, Surulere, Onikan, Epe, Ikorodu, Dolphin, Ajangbadi, Victoria Island, VI Annex, among others.
He said the 220MGD was in addition to Iju and Adiyan Phase I major waterworks with 45MGD and 70MGD capacity respectively, while work was ongoing on 70MGD Adiyan Water Treatment Plant Phase II, 4MGD Ishasi waterworks, 2MGD Imeke-Iworo waterworks and 2MGD Oke-Odo mini waterworks.
To enhance environmental sustainability, the Commissioner said the State Government, in the last one year, commissioned JJT Park in Alausa, Rafiu Jafojo Park in Shasha and Badagry Recreational Park, while six new parks have been earmarked for development in Oregun, Iponri, Ikotun, Queens Drive, Iganmu and Epe, in addition to establishment of a florist’s village in Osborne, Ikoyi to enhance the greening programme.
He said government, through the Lagos State Parks and Gardens (LASPARK) propagated over 100,000 nursery plant seedlings of various species with the period under review, while it cumulatively planted 7,388, 096 trees.
In the area of noise pollution, the Commissioner said the government treated a total of 1,185 petitions out of which 60 per cent were abated, while the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps (LAGESC) arrested 2,097 environmental offenders comprising illegal street traders, hawkers, highway pedestrian defaulters, environmental nuisance polluters and cart pushers, among other achievements.