The Association of Waste Managers of Nigeria, popularly called PSP Operators in Lagos State, has commended Dr Muyiwa Gbadegesin-led Lagos State Waste Management Agency (LAWMA)’s effort in making sure PSP Operators across the state are well equipped and protected while carrying out their duties as the state battles the COVID-19 pandemic.
The spokesperson of the PSP Operators, Mr. Olugbenga Adebola, a waste and environmental management expert/consultant, speaking with WESTERN POST Correspondent, said the recent gesture by LAWMA in presenting them with Personal Protective Equipment, PPE’s, Liquid Soaps, Protective Re-usable Face Masks and Hand Sanitizers, has shown the commitment of the Sanwo-olu led administration to the welfare and safety of the people.
“I thank Governor Sanwo-Olu. And I really commend the Managing Director of LAWMA, Dr. Muyiwa Gbadegesin, for the supplies. We are also expecting to get more supplies soon. These support would enable us perform at our optimal. They have been very supportive and we appreciate the partnership,” Adebola said.
Nevertheless, he said the management of LAWMA should urgently look into the issue of providing special stimulus or palliatives to PSP Operators especially those that deal directly with residents.
Adebola said despite the lockdown, operators were still on the streets and in every local government of the state collecting waste
He noted that the issue of palliatives had become necessary as most PSP Operators were no longer able to bear the operational cost in carrying out their duties.
“Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, many residents in the state stopped paying their waste disposal fee, and with the announcement of a total lockdown, we have not been able to collect any money. People are complaining of economy hardship as a result of the lockdown. Residents are unwilling to pay, saying they would rather buy food and other daily essentials than pay waste disposal fee.
“Currently, tenants are not paying and if cost are not recovered, Operators will be incapacitated. It is not every PSP Operator that is receiving bridging, a lot are not receiving it because they are recovering their cost in the areas they operate from,” Adebola said.
The PSP Spokesperson said PSP Operators were part of those on essential services in the state, just as Governor Sanwo-Olu has declared and, as such, they must work during this lockdown.
“Therefore all support, both from the government and the people, are needed and all measures must be put in place to ensure that collection of waste continues unhindered,” he stressed.
“Yesterday I was on a monitoring exercise, checking how our people are doing. Majority of the vehicles you see on the road are waste collection trucks moving around the state collecting waste. This is because the governor has declared that they are part of essential services that must work and of course that is the way it should be.”
The proper handling and disposal of waste is very critical at this time the country and especially Lagos state is battling to put a stop to further spread of the coronavirus.
One of the ways any infectious disease can quickly spread from person to person is through the handling of waste material whether household waste or medical waste.
And as the lockdown continues and residents are made to stay at home, experts predicts an increase in the amount of household waste and medical waste that will be generated and as such all measures to effectively manage collection and disposal will need to be strengthened.
Mr. Adebola urged Lagosians to cultivate the habit sorting out their waste at collection level, separating solid from liquid and other waste that can be recycled.
He said proper waste separation at point of collect will not only ease the work of the operators but will go a long way to contain the COVID-19 pandemic from spreading further.