Private Sector Participation (PSP), refuse operators under the aegis of Association of Waste Managers of Nigeria (AWAM), last week decried the deplorable state of dump sites at Olusosun, Ojota and Solous, Igando, Lagos, calling on the Lagos State Government to do something fast about the dump sites, as a lack of accessibility into the sites to dump refuse, is crippling their waste collection business.
Speaking to the press on the deplorable conditions of the two major dump sites in Lagos and how inaccessibility to the sites is crippling their businesses before their protest to the State House, Alausa last week, Mr. Olabode Coker, Chairman of AWAM, said the horrible situation at dump sites has become a herculean task for the concessionaires who were awarded the contract to sanitise the sites.
Coker said, "what is expected of us as refuse collectors in the state is to drive to dump sites and dump our waste within 30 minutes and get out, but now, our members sleep over night at dump sites, and in some cases, two nights. Some members are still waiting to dump their refuse." He pointed out that because refuse collectors cannot meet the number of trips expected of them per day, refuse has taken over the entire Lagos metropolis.
The chairman who said it is proper to set the records straight, explained that members of the public think that it is the PSP operators that are not doing their jobs, stressing that this was not true, but the situation at dump sites was responsible for PSP operators not performing up to maximum capacity.
"So, we are appealing to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to intervene on the issue. The government needs to intervene, they leave those concessionaires alone to handle the sanitisation of the dump sites. Our heart bleeds when we see the refuse situation in Lagos metropolis now, how the entire city is littered with refuse.
"The only solution now is to make sure the dump sites are accessible. We realise that the government is working on engineering land fields, which we are likely not going to see the outcome in the next one year. So, there must be intervention now by way of making sure the dump sites are available for us to use.
And for no reason should we spend more than one hour at a dump site if we must meet our daily target. This is because the dump sites are getting saturated, and refuse is being generated on daily basis. This is why we need access to dump sites to be able to meet with the pace of refuse being generated," Coker noted.
Mr. Olalekan Owojori, consultant to AWAM faulted the state government's claims against the operators, stating that on the contrary, government was largely to blame for much of the problems besetting waste management in the state.
He listed the challenges to include the failure of government to develop the dump sites and make them accessible for trucks, which currently spend days on queues in a bid to discharge waste, lack of sustainable and effective enforcement to compel regular payments by clients and compliance with the specified guidelines for the packing of wastes for disposal, delayed and short payments of commercial entitlements by government and the recent drop in public enlightenment and advocacy.