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Tari Taylaur: Let’s not Turn a Blind Eye to Poor Waste Management in Lagos State

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Lagos State generates up to 12,000 metric tonnes of waste daily. A growing portion of this waste finds its way into our streets, highways, and canals. Deficiencies within the waste management system are blamed for the lapses. In Lagos, waste management is poor and we have an unacceptable presence of waste on our streets, our highways, our shorelines, our gutters, in front of our houses – everywhere!

When we go for a walk, look out the window, enter a building, drive over 3rd mainland, pass through CMS, in bus terminals, it’s there – human waste. 

By now, regulators and operators should be innovating localised methods of collection and conversion suited to the unique challenges of the city. More competition needs to be allowed in to serve the overwhelming waste management needs of residents and businesses. Currently, if your designated PSP is slacking, you won’t get the response of another one to come and offer their service to you. 

Cart-pushers fill the gap as frustrated residents seek their help in carting away heaps of waste neglected by the PSPs. Operating illegally, they are happy to assist in carrying off waste, but they simply pour it in gutters, street corners, under bridges, and wherever else no-one is looking at the time. It’s an endless cycle of neglect and much more waste generated!

In my Lekki sub-zone, we have operated a model for the last five months which has proved to be an efficient system for achieving a consistently clean environment: we employ young cleaners to attend to our roads and gutters daily. Each cleaner gets a street allocated to him/her, and it’s their daily responsibility to ensure that that street remains clean. They are supervised and provided with appropriate tools and protective gear to collect and bag the waste.

An added benefit to the community is that the larger percentage of our cleaners are boys who used to hang around the malls, supermarkets, and ATM terminals, begging for alms. With our model, they earn a daily wage, which totals up to N30,000 a month. Residents contribute funds to keep the system running. Our streets are clean and safe and everybody is happy.

This model needs to be amplified across the state. Let us positively engage our young people who are willing to gear up every day, grab his/her rake and restore our city. It is perfected when the PSPs operate swiftly and reliably. Our quality of life in Lagos will significantly improve when we all do our part within the waste ecosystem. It is each person’s responsibility to ensure that their immediate environment is clean and healthy. Stop turning a blind eye!

Use enough proper bins to capture the quantity of waste generated from your premises – not six apartments in a building, all sharing two central waste bins. Every household/shop/office should properly bag the waste they generate. Register with your local PSP and insist on efficient service. Do not patronise cart-pushers no matter the situation.

It’s not okay to have overflowing bins, dirty gutters, waterways lined with refuse, and streets with heaps of trash. Why have we accepted this in our environment?

Let’s do better. A clean Lagos is possible.

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