Failure of ‘Cleaner Lagos Initiative’, By Banjo Oluwatobiloba

Posted by News Express | 1 July 2018 | 1,629 times

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•Heap of refuse on Lagos street

Cleanliness, they say, is next to godliness. The prospect of a clean environment is to achieve wealth, tourism, good health and pragmatic inflow of investors for the purpose of economic development. Unarguably, major world cities like London, Washington, Oslo, Dublin, Paris, etc., are famous because of the beauty of their sparkling clean environments.

More so, a clean environment is among the yardsticks for ranking cities and for attracting multi-national companies. Nigeria is obviously lagging among nations with clean environment. It is, thus, not surprising that Lagos used to be in the ranking of 140 cities rated for world livable cities. And that’s not the case anymore as Lagos has recently become very dirty, with heaps of refuse littering streets and major roads across the city. Lagos used to be clean until the present administration cancelled the former Private Sector Participants (PSP) operators, which was in charge of refuse disposal, and introduced Visionscape (“Cleaner Lagos”) which is presently failing in ensuring the cleanness of Lagos State.

Residents of the metropolis have had to deal with daily exposure to severe odour oozing from refuse dumps in the ‘mega city’, heaps of garbage and waste products that are accumulated on roadsides, which occupy a lot of space and thus prevent people from utilizing the space for positive ventures. An environmental report had long established that overflowing garbage creates an ideal breeding ground for bacteria, insects, rats and vermin. These could cause typhoid fever, food poisoning, enteric fever and gastroenteritis. In these days of Lassa fever and Ebola virus disease outbreaks, decomposing refuse dumps are doubly dangerous.

Residents of Lagos have continually lamented the failure of the “Cleaner Lagos Initiative” embarked upon by this administration. As a result, some Lagosians have gone on social media to lament the decadent state of their environments. Below are some of their comments:

A friend, a professor of mass communication, who lives in London, sent a video of the heap of garbage along the median on the Mushin part of Agege Motor Road, to the social media platform of a university alumni association.

The accompanying sound bite goes thus: “This is Mushin, in Lagos State. I can’t believe it. Today, April 7, 2018, this is Lagos. This is our Lagos. Lagos, West Africa. Nigeria. This is unbelievable… I’ve never seen Mushin in this state in the past 20 years. What is wrong?” The video makes you want to puke.

A posting on another platform reads: “Lagos is getting dirtier. I live in Lekki, and everywhere is becoming (like) the Mushin scene. The last time I went out… it was as if the dirt had (become a given),” or something like that. This narrative qualifies Lagos as a colony of “panti,” or garbage, streets.

The professor who shared the video gave an indicting comment: “I’m told (that) Visionscape (franchisee of garbage collection in Lagos State), will not see this unless people phone to tell them.” If that were so, it is grievous indeed!

Somebody on yet another social media platform, who appears to be a health professional, warns: “I pray we don’t have outbreak of cholera in Lagos. Honestly, I am afraid for Lagos State; refuse that has taken over the state.”

It is not an understatement to say that Lagos State is now synonymous with dirt. A city that had once held the praise of the world as one of the cleanest in Africa is now too dirty. However, what I think could be done to bring Lagos back to its former state of a livable city in the world is that there should be division of labour between the Cleaner Lagos and PSP: the “Cleaner Lagos” should focus on sweeping, picking and packing of dirt; the PSP, being a private operator, should revert to its former method of evacuating the debris, disposing of dirt and collection of bills (because it’s better we continue paying the token now for the debris than spending billions later for treatment).

•Banjo Oluwatobiloba wrote via banjooluwatobiloba1@gmail.com


Source: News Express

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