83 Jailed, Over 3,000 Fined, 1,200 Penalised For Indiscriminate Waste Offences In Lagos
By BENJAMIN OMOIKE
83 persons have been convicted and jailed, over 1,200 penalised to sweep and over 3,000 fined in Lagos, having been found guilty of committing various forms of offences relating to indiscriminate disposal of waste in Lagos, in the last one year.
This is just as the state government has disclosed sustainability measures to keep operations of waste management processes abreast with rising challenges.
In a press briefing on Wednesday on the state of affairs on waste management in Lagos, updates on activities from the beginning of 2022 till August, recent challenges, solutions and sustainability measures put in place by the Agency, the MD/CEO, Lagos State Waste Management Authority, (LAWMA), Ibrahim Odumboni, said the prosecution of the offenders was necessitated to deter bad culture to waste management.
“83 people were jailed last year from waste related offences. Over 1,200 did community services – they joined our sweepers to sweep and do the job very well and over 3,000 were fined. But the most important thing, for us is why don’t we ensure we do the right thing.
“For people out there, who continue to migrate and dump waste indiscriminately, any time you are cut, you would be held responsible and would face the wrath of the law,” he said.
According to him, the Enforcement team set up by the Agency has become very active, and have ceased over 1,400 carts across the State in the last two months “to ensure a much more formal, agreeable and consistent system of Waste is introduced into our society.”
Odumboni said truck pushers are guilty of dumping waste in carnals and drainage systems, causing menace of drainage blockages informing floods.
He said, having extended hands of fellowship to cart pushers on how they can work with the Agency to formalise their operations, the Agency would not take it lightly with those who kick against the hands of fellowship and rules of engagement.
“For any one who does not have an identity, who pose security threats to the state, who refuses to follow the law and put the lives of Lagosians in danger, there is going to be zero-tolerance on that and so, we would continue in our operations to get rid of cart pushers in Lagos,” he said.
He frowned at mischievous offenders who inflict attacks on workers and facilities of the Agency, saying it has fostered engagement with law enforcement agents to bring culprits to book.
The LAWMA Boss said the Agency is now working with LASTMA, the Neighborhood Watch and other security agencies to prosecute those cut on the live time metropolitan cameras across the State.He said mischievous resorts has been observed from people who migrate and dump waste indiscriminately.
Mentioning that each of the over 20million residents of the State generate a minimum of 0.65kg, averaging 13,000 metric tonnes, in all demanding no less than 650 heavy-duty trucks to evacuate them, he said the Agency has been straightened to the task to ensure “delivering excellent services with the aim of clearing every thing on daily basis.”
According to him, poor attitudes to waste management, recent rainfall, and particularly the recent cost of diesel have posed huge challenges to the cost of operation.
He mentioned that while the number of PSP trucks operating in the State have been upscaled under the present Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu led Administration from about 627 to over 1,100, higher than those of New York, about 150 of which are operated by LAWMA, he lamented that the rising cost of diesel from the 1st quarter of this year, has posed huge challenges for operators.
“Of the key things we face as challenges for the PSP, the first of it is the rising cost of operation, the cost of overheads, majorly diesel, and spare parts for those trucks that PSP use,” he said.
He disclosed that with the reality, a tariff review is under consideration, mentioning that the pricing review to commence 1st October this year with critical engagement with stakeholders, is projected for about 50 percent increase, which he said would however be variable subject to peculiar circumstances.
“Also, we are in the process of extensive and consultative pricing review for PSP services that will offer in household, knowing fully well that we are trying to recognise the economic trend in Nigeria, but we are trying to ensure that we are not introducing any change that will automatically disenfranchise people and cause the menace of Waste in our immediate society,” he said.
On effort to meet up with changing demands such as rising cost of diesel and the demands of clean energy, he disclosed the Agency has commenced processes of duel fuel system for trucks, disclosing that two trucks had already been converted to dual fuel system – 50 percent diesel and 50 percent gas for efficiency.
He, however, said to keep the operators afloat, the State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has reached conclusion to make fuel subsidy arrangements for the operators, which according to him, was to cushion the impacts of high cost of diesel bitting hard on operators.
According to him, the fuel subsidy was in addition to subsidies offered the PSP operators “in areas where we have challenges.”
“We are giving them additional subsidies to share among all operators that we feel the impact is bitting hard on, so that they continue to deliver the level of service we expect them to deliver.” he said.
Lamenting the poor culture of Waste management, he called for an attitudinal change, frowning against the culture of patronising cart pushers who said I don’t have access to get to the dumb sites, but rather resort to dumping refuses by road side and in drainage channels.
“Attitudinal change is one of the biggest challenge we have in waste management and I know that through the support of the State and everyone we can make a significant change,” he said.
Efforts, he said, have been put in place for enhanced waste management system include encouraging local content; introducing CNG powered trucks; construction of Sanitary Land Fill; discussion over developing Waste to Energy Facilities; Construction of brand new Landfills; Construction of additional Transfer Loading Stations for every Local Government; Recycling of Waste.
Others are back-to-back night operations from 11:00pm-4:00pm; efforts focused on markets; additional reforms for operation enhancement; monitoring performance of PSP operators. Calling on households to adopt the culture of proper waste management with bins, he said the State Government would commence enforcement by October to ensure household found defaulting are prosecuted.
In his remarks, the Chairman, Association of Waste Managers of Nigeria, Mr. David Oriyomi, assured Lagosians that with the support of the State Government, efforts would be harmonised to address the prevailing challenges, particularly those relating to exchange rate and rising diesel price which have informed high cost of operation.