No going back on Lagos waste management reforms – Ambode

FILE PHOTO: Heap of waste (AP Photo/ Sunday Alamba)
FILE PHOTO: Heap of waste (AP Photo/ Sunday Alamba)

The Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has said the state’s new waste management policy would be befitting a mega city and ensure the state remains clean and safe for healthy living.

According to a statement released by his office, Mr. Ambode spoke, Monday, at the annual lecture of the Centre for Values in Leadership, held at Muson Centre in Onikan with the theme: “Living Well Together, Tomorrow: The Challenge Of Africa’s Future Cities.”

The governor said government was embarking on massive reform in waste management system, expressing optimism that the plan would fully be actualized by July this year.

Mr. Ambode’s statement came one week after the private waste operators in the state instituted a suit before a court asking for a roll-back on some aspects of the new reform.

The Private Sector Participants (PSPs) said the government’s decision to replace them with a foreign investor was unfair.

But Mr. Ambode said the PSPs had not shown the capacity to deal with the enormous waste generated in the state.

“We are also embarking on massive reform in the waste and sanitation management system,” said Mr. Ambode.

“I don’t like the way the city is and the Private Sector Participants (PSP) collectors are not having enough capacity to do it. But again, should I tax people to death? The answer is no.

“I don’t want to tax people and so we need this partnership with the private sector so that they can invest in the sanitation management of the city and in no time maybe by July, the city will change forever.”

Recently, Governor Ambode directed the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), to stop the collection of waste bills, while instructing that all payments should be remitted to Private Sector Participation (PSP) operators, just as the government also cancelled the monthly environmental sanitation exercise.

It would also be recalled that the State Government had last year signed a $135 million (N85 billion) agreement with a foreign firm as part of its new waste management policy, a partnership under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative expected to last for four years.

The State’s Commissioner for the Environment, Babatunde Adejare, who also explained the new drive, said the investment, which would kick off next year involved the deployment of over 600 Mercedes Benz compactors and the engagement of street sweepers in all wards in the state, while private sector operators would be restricted to handle commercial waste.

Mr. Adejare also stated that the new policy would involve closure of existing landfill sites, creation of transfer loading stations in local councils and deployment of over one million ultra-modern waste bins with censors to monitor their movement against theft.

He said this was aimed at introducing new technology into waste management in the state.

He said the decision to contract out waste management under a Public Private Participation (PPP) arrangement was because of the high cost which he said the state could not afford because of limited resources.

Under the reform, Mr. Adejare said three colour coded waste bags would be distributed to homes for different kinds of waste.

“The result of this new arrangement is that waste disposal will no longer be a challenge as efficient system will be on ground for effective management which will eventually eradicate cart pushers in the process,” he said.

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