Lagos’ quest for environmental regeneration

By Omolara Otuyemi

Cleaner environment is among the yardstick for ranking cities and for attracting multinational investors. Since it came on board, the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration has demonstrated the zeal and willingness to enhance improvement in the state’s waste management system. One of the earliest actions of Governor Sanwo-Olu was the signing of the first Executive Order to address sanitation as well as cleaning of drainages in the state.

The administration is resolved to rid the state of waste, necessitating the introduction of “Lagos at 4 am” operation and other laudable initiatives aimed at improving the state’s environmental architecture. “Lagos at 4 am” is an initiative to ensure wastes are evacuated and carted away in the early hours of the day as it is done in major global cities.

One vital strategy that the administration has employed to improve waste management in the state is ensuring synergy between PSP operators and the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA). Presently, LAWMA is effectively collaborating with the PSP operators. This explains why heaps of refuse are now history on Lagos roads.

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The effort has been boosting human capacity in waste collection, with over 30,000 jobs generated. LAWMA had increased the number of trips completed daily at the landfill from 357 to 850 on average; 87 new waste collection vendors were engaged to drive up efficiency in the value chain.

The Blue Box Initiative was also launched as a single stream recyclable collection programme that encourages the separation of recyclable materials from the general waste at the point of generation. The overall objective is to divert as much as 40% of waste generated at the household level from the landfill as an integrated approach towards the management of the three dumpsites at Olusosun, Soluos and Igando.

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Currently, the state is transiting from traditional waste management to conversion of waste materials – an innovation that is projected to generate 6,000 jobs. The recycling is also expected to promote a cleaner environment, promoting good health and boosting aesthetics.

Waste conversion is necessitated by the limitation of the state to set up new dumpsites. The fact that the existing dumpsites had overreached their holding capacities prompted the switch to waste conversion to reduce the volume of waste being taken to the dumpsites.

Already, the pilot scheme for recycling has been rolled out by the government in organised housing estates via a mobile application known as PAKAM, which enables users to request for pick-up of recyclable materials from their homes by registered aggregators on the mobile application.

The mobile app’s usage has been growing organically, as over 2,000 kilograms of waste transactions are being conducted on the app, which registered 41 recyclers and over 120 aggregators.

In the provision of piper borne water, the state had recorded 85 per cent progress towards the completion of 70 million gallons per day Adiyan Phase II Waterworks. The waterworks is expected to serve over three million residents in Lagos communities, including Ikotun, Idimu, Isolo, Agege, Ajegunle, and Amuwo Odofin, amongst others.

Concerning efforts to address flooding, a total of 42 primary channels were approved and executed under maintenance and dredging of the Primary Channels programme; 34 channels were executed by direct implementation, while eight channels were executed by contracts. Most of these primary channels cut across multiple local government areas and effectively drain several catchment areas simultaneously. From 2019 till date, the government has completed projects of more than 100km in length.

Not resting on its oars, the government has also begun work on the construction and concrete lining of the nine-kilometre stretch Akinola Aboru Channel with a completion period of 24 months.  The Akinola River (Aboru canal) is made up of two alignments; the Aboru part takes off from the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway after Iyana Ipaja, cutting across Ige Road in Aboru Community and Command Road in Agbado Oke-Odo LCDA on the right. It takes its flow from as far as Ogun State from Oke-Aro, Ifako Ijaiye, Agege and Alimosho.

Similarly, rehabilitation work has been carried out on 13 secondary channels at Abraham Adesanya Collector Drain/Dredging of System 63, Lekki Expressway, Lekki Expressway, Ogombo and its adjoining areas, Freedom Way Channel, Lekki and Orchid Road Collector drains off Lekki-Epe Expressway in Eti-Osa.

Other areas where dredging and construction of drainage channels are ongoing include the Osapa Lagoon Channel (to de-flood Ologolo Lekki Expressway at Jakande and the Kusenla regional roads), the drains from Odugunwa Street through Buraimoh Alli Fetuga, Ogunmekan Onabola and Charley Boy that discharges into Gbagada Bariga Channel.

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Another major ongoing project on the Mainland is the Demurin Ogunsowobo Collector drain, which after completion will de-flood Feyintolu, Ogunsowobo, Oyebanji, Igbonla, Baale Streets and its environs in Alapere-Ketu. The channel receives storm water from Ikorodu Road at Ketu and discharges into Lagos Lagoon via Ketu-Alapere Channel.

Another set of 44 new collectors at various stages of construction are  Da Costa/Adesina/Zanzi Collector Drain in Yaba,  Ajiran Outfall Channel in Eti-Osa, Joshua Ede Downstream Channels located at Abaranje in Ikotun, Alimosho, Kushoro Igbayilola Street, Collector Drain Phase II in Agege, Canal Road Collector Drain in Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government,  Johnson-Bawa-Allah-Onisemo Channels in Shomolu,  Adenuga/DFRRI/Jesugbogo Collector Drains within Aro Community in Badagry, Elemoro Collector Drain, Ibeju-Lekki, Collector Drain to deflood Opebi Road, Ikeja, Abeokuta/Olanrewaju Collector Drain in Okokomaiko, Iba LCDA, Ojo, Omolade Osinowo New Ewu Town Collector Drain and Senator Oluremi Tinubu New Era Foundation Collector Drain in Ibeju-Lekki among others.

The tradition of undertaking beautification projects through the development of parks and gardens is also being improved upon. The development and commissioning of the Dr. Abayomi Finnih Park at Oregun is a clear evidence of this. The facility, designed to promote relaxation, recreation and picnic, is a proof of the government’s commitment to provide amenities that support decent human living and that fit the state’s status.

The greening programme was also further activated through the Annual Tree Planting Campaign. One message that should resonate across the state and, indeed, Nigeria from Mr. Governor’s 2019 tree planting day message was the one that enjoined Lagosians thus: “As we mark our birthdays, let’s plant a tree; as we dedicate our children, let’s plant a tree; as we celebrate our children’s graduation, let’s plant a tree; whatever memorable event that we do, let’s endeavour to mark it with planting of trees.

Similarly, on-going cleaning up exercise across the state has helped to improve the state’s environmental landscape. While executing the governor’s Executive Order, the State Environmental Task Force has begun massive clearing of all illegal structures and shanties built on setbacks on major roads and streets across the state. A cleanup of waterways and coastal regions, to ensure the water transportation segment of the intermodal transportation meets set requirements, was also embarked on.

The cleanup of the waterways is pertinent to protecting the economic and environmental interests of residents in the riverine communities whose livelihoods largely depend on what happens to the water bodies. Thus, the continuous degradation of the waterways would sabotage the opportunities available for Lagos which parades great aquatic splendour.

No doubt, the Sanwo-Olu administration has significantly impacted the environmental outlook of the state. Lagosians are enjoined to keep collaborating with the government with a view to making the environment healthier and ‘sustainable. Parks should not be turned into market places, toilets, refuse dumps or places where animals graze.

Otuyemi is of the Features Unit Ministry of Information & Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja.

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