Lagos State Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello, has said the current administration has resuscitated the state from environmental degradation to improved sanitation.
The Commissioner, who spoke on Thursday at the ongoing Annual Ministerial Briefing in commemoration of the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led administration’s two years in office, said before the inception of the present administration, the profile of environment in the State was relegated to the background within four years.
According to him, the legacies laid between 1999 to 2015 which saw Lagos in appreciable environmental state, suffered deep set back due to a drift of attention from the environment.
He mentioned that the systemic neglect within the four years period before the coming of the present administration, led to such Agencies as Lagos State Parks and Gardens (LASPARK), Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI), Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), and the Office of the Drainage Services, among others under the Environment Ministry, been relegated to the background.
He said though within a period of four years the Environment in Lagos went into shambles, the State which was well known as an example in demonstration of best practices has retaken its pride of place in Nigeria and the West African sub region.
He emphasised that Lagos has moved from the notoriety of a flood ravaged coastal city to one with cleaned, dredged and free flowing drainage channels all year round.
According to him, the first point of attention of Governor Sanwo-Olu in office was to clear the mess which was left behind within four years prior to his assumption of office.
The activities of the Ministry within the period under review revolved around the management of the environment through reduction of noise pollution to refuse disposal through PSP operators; engaging in a circular economy for plastic waste; promoting waste conversion; giving the landfill sites a facelift to enable waste disposal without hassles.
Others are mitigating the effects of climate change through tree planting and beautification and landscaping of parks and gardens; managing the status of Lagos as a coastal city to eliminate floods.
“Taking a retrospective look at the last two years in Lagos State with respect to the management of the Environment and Drainage sector under the THEMES AGENDA, it is very discernible that stability has been achieved in the restoration and rejuvenation of all the environmental structures which the administration of Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu brought about when he assumed office,” he said.
He noted that efforts of the present Administration to revamp the operations of Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) during the period under review was due to the magnanimity of Governor Sanwo-Olu which has provided employment to over 30,000 residents.
He disclosed that presently, LAWMA has successfully increased the number of trips completed daily at landfill from 357 to 850 on the average.
“We have witnessed growth of PSPs from 350 to 437 (87 new PSP companies). The period has also seen the acquisition of 210 new Compactors by the PSPs who have also employed over 8,200 people,” he said.
He further hinted that there is also a potential of 6000 new jobs in recycling but currently averaging 4000 for both formal and informal, adding that 950 employees have been hired under the Waste Monitoring and Policing and another 350 are engaged as Street Captains.
Other categories of people offered job opportunities are 300 Marine Waste employees, 14,010 Street Sweepers and another 3500 under the HighWay Managers.
It was gathered that LAWMA has also installed a Medical/Healthcare Waste Treatment Plant at Agege Transfer Loading Station.
In fulfillment of the policy on Accelerated Local Content in Technological Development, 50nos Dino bins were fabricated in-house at LAWMA headquarters.
Part of the achievements of LASEPA noted within the period under review include the installation and commissioning of air quality control monitoring stations in six locations across the state; commissioning of a mini effluent treatment plant used to treat waste water and left-over samples of industrial wastewater from the Agency’s laboratory; the commissioning of a world class E-library and Resources Center to help in the submission of Technical Reports, responding to Public complaints and enquires which had hitertho been done physically.
On the fight against noise pollution from social clubs and religious organisations, the Commissioner mentioned that LASEPA attended to no less than 912 public complaints emanating from religious organisations, clubs, industries and other sources of noise pollution in the last 6 months.
Among other the achievements was the construction of a Recycling Bank constructed in 2020 within the Ministry of Environment complex in collaboration with private investors to increase awareness of recycling in the state.
Also within the period under review is the inauguration of a Technical Committee on Climate Change was inaugurated to establish climate governance in the State as well as ensure that Lagos delivers a climate action plan compliant with the Paris Agreement.
The Commisioner, disclosed that the Ministry is at the verge of completing activities on the development of its policy on plastic waste in the State with the development of a draft waste policy.
It was gathered that the policy will serve as a guide in the management of Plastic Waste and a framework document that will move the State towards realization of the Zero Waste principle.
“This policy will encourage incentives and a system leading to generation of new businesses and economic opportunities with broad environmental, social and economic benefits to Lagos Citizens,” the Commissioner had hinted.
Areas where the Monitoring Enforcement and Compliance Department of the Ministry was able to restore sanity include Magodo Phase 1, Gbagada Oshodi Expressway, Omole Phase 1, Ologbolo Village Road, off Lekki – Epe Expressway, Platinum Road, (Igbokusu), off Lekki – Epe Expressway, Igbobi Sabe, Jibowu, Catholic Mission Street, Badore, Ajah ( along the perimeter fence of Lagos Model College, Badore, Ajah), Perimeter fence of Abraham Adesanya Housing Estate, Lekki – Epe Express Way, among others.
On the efforts in the fight against Climate Change, it was gathered that LASPARK embarked on several parks and gardens creation, Landscaping and Beautification of various sites in the state and also forged ahead in its Tree Planting Campaign.
It was disclosed that at the last count, the total stock of trees planted rose to over 7 million out of the 10 million targeted for the end of Y2020. LASPARK also propagated thousands of flowering house plants, foliage and tree seedlings for sale and community tree planting.
The Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency within the period under review was noted to have conducted Clean up of posters, banners with tin plates on 265 streets in 20 local government areas as well as maintenance inspection and observed 49 with defects and 36 structures with structural inadequacies.
Bello reports that 1663 contravening structures were identified in some Local Government monitored for contravention of drainage alignments and setbacks while removal has commenced with about 84% completion.
“The State Signage and Advertisement Agency launched the 2021 Mobile Advert Stickers to enhance a more effective regulatory process for mobile advertisements”, he said.
The Commissioner disclosed that KAI with its resuscitation has arrested a total of 2,858 people comprising illegal Traders, Hawkers, Highway crossing defaulters, environmental polluters and cart pushers of which 294 persons were prosecuted according to the Lagos State Environmental Law.
He added the Agency has been successful in the removal of all major infractions at Toll gate/7up areas, CMD Road, Magodo and those aiding criminal activities in Magodo/Shangisha, and handing over of the recovered locations to the Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency (LASPARK) while sanity is regularly sustained by men of the Agency in other locations such as Onikan Under bridge, Obalende, Ijeh and P&T Areas and other areas of the state.
“There has been a drastic reduction in street hawking across major highways while clearing of environmental nuisance as well as sustenance has been a continuous process at various Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) Parks such as Toll Gate, Ikorodu, Isawo, Ojota, Oyingbo and other areas of the state making transportation easy for the citizenry,” he said.
Bello said as part of Covid-19 containment measures, the ministry intensified the disinfecting of schools, public institutions and highways regularly.
It was gathered that contracts were awarded for construction of new drainage channels in 47 strategic locations in the State, with work at 12 locations 100% completed, 17 at above 80% and 18 at above 50% completion.
Under the maintenance and dredging of Primary Channels Programme, a total of 42 Primary Channels cleaning and dredging contracts were awarded across the state, while another 192 Secondary Collectors drains spread across the 20 Local Government Areas of the State have been cleaned up.
On water management, efforts made by the Ministry include, 85% completion at the ongoing Construction of 70MGD (Million Gallons per Day) Adiyan II Water plant; repairs on leakages, burst pipes; completion of the construction of 694 meters of Sewer Network and Manholes for 12 Resident Block at Iponri Low Cost Housing Estate; signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with WaterAid International on Partnership, capacity building and expansion of access to water in the State.
Others are signing an agreement with Organized Private Sector (OPS) which includes Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigerian Employers Consultative Assembly (NECA), and the Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) to comply with the Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission regulations on abstraction, licensing and permit for operators in the water sector, to reduce quackery in the water and wastewater sector.
In his remarks at the briefing held at Ikeja, the State Capital, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Drainage and Water Resources, Egnr. Joe Igbokwe, stressed on the need for Lagosians to corroborate the Government’s effort by developing good sanitation culture, which according to him, is important for the environment.
Frowning against the culture of waste dumping into drainage channels, he called on residents of the State to be responsive in the efforts towards environmental management to guide against flooding.