The Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) says it has embarked on 24-hour waste evacuation to remove heaps of refuse on some major roads in the metropolis.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that refuse heaps had taken over many open spaces, road sides and medians in Eti-Osa, Lagos Island, Somolu, Mainland Apapa-Iganmu, Agege, Ajeromi – Ifelodun, Alimosho and Kosofe council areas of the state.
According to NAN check, areas worst affected by the refuse heaps, which was assuming epidemic dimension, are markets and commercial neighbourhoods.
LAWMA spokesman, Lanre Bajulaiye, told NAN that the authority had commenced 24-hour operation to ensure round-the-clock refuse evacuation across the metropolis.
The LAWMA spokesman said that refuse collectors stopped operations as many residents refused to pay their refuse bill because of the new Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI) which would take off next month.
“CLI is kicking off in September and residents are not paying. So, this is affecting the operations of most of the PSP operators
“However, Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode has read the riot act that everywhere must be clean and we are on top of the situation,’’ Bajulaiye said.
Some affected residents and traders told NAN that the heaps of refuse had not been removed by waste managers for several weeks.
Mr Philip Jacob, a trader at Idumota area, said that traders were complying with the government’s directives on environmental sanitation by keeping the markets clean but refuse collectors were not forthcoming.
‘‘The heaps of refuse you see in-between the roads have been neatly kept there for the waste collectors to come and remove them with their trucks.
‘‘But we hardly see them these days,’’ Jacob said.
Another trader, Mrs Iyabo Usman, a food vendor, said that the stench from the heap of refuse was affecting her business.
‘‘You can see, the refuse is almost blocking half of the road and the odour is terrible.
‘‘I am losing my customers every day.
‘‘I thank God that l still have people who buy in takeaways to eat at their shops and offices,’’ she said.
Mr Felix Onyeador, a trader at the Tom Jones end of Adeniyi Adele Estate, wondered why the refuse was not removed.
‘‘Allowing these heaps of refuse to remain here is an eyesore.
‘‘We pay the refuse bill to government every month. What else should we do,’’ he said.
Traders at Mile 12 produce market wondered why officials would clear the drainage onto roadsides only for the refuse to be washed back into the drainage by the rains.
The LAWMA spokesman explained that the new CLI would enable residents to pay their refuse bill once a year instead of the current monthly payment.
Lagos State Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Babatunde Adejare, had told journalists that the new initiative would bring waste management in the state at par with world’s best standards.
Adejare said that a consortium of seven companies would be executors of waste management under the state’s CLI starting next month.