By Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye
Determined to give a fillip to its waste-to-wealth project in a bid to create more jobs, the Lagos State Government says it is collaborating with a Holland-based company to harness the waste.
Already, the state has begun gas production from waste dumps.
Mr Olumuyiwa Adejokun, the Executive Chairman, Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), told Blackface News on Monday in Lagos that the project would be a public-private initiative (PPP).
“It is a veritable option to adopt in recycling our waste which we generate daily in thousands of tons.
“Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration has invited a company from Holland whose speciality is on converting waste to wealth to create jobs for both old and young.
“We are expecting them anytime form now to come and collaborate with us on the project,’’ said the LAWMA boss, who took over in 2016.
According to Adejokun, the state-owned enterprise is not to recycle waste, but to encourage recyclers as private initiatives.
“It is not for LAWMA to recycle waste, but to encourage recyclers; for example, we have WeeCyclers owned by the Abiolas.’’
LAWMA was inaugurated following the industrialisation and urbanisation of Lagos with the resultant high volume of waste which became an intractable problem for local councils in the state to manage.
Lagos was branded the “dirtiest’’ capital in 1977 when Nigeria hosted “FESTAC ’77’’, and consequently in April 1977, the first waste management outfit in West Africa was inaugurated known as Lagos State Refuse Disposal Board (LSRDB) under Edict 9 of 1977, with Powell Duffen Pollution Control Consultants of Canada as managers.
In 1981, its name was changed to Lagos State Waste Disposal Board (LSWDB) because of the added responsibilities for industrial-commercial waste collection and disposal, drain clearing and disposal of derelict/scrapped vehicles.
In 1991, the board was re-christened LAWMA via Edict No. 55 with the mandate of collecting and disposing municipal and industrial waste as well as providing commercial waste services to state and local councils in the state.
Ex-Gov. Bola Tinubu’s administration had in 2001 had partially commercialised its operations through private sector participation concept, a fall-out of the 2nd Lagos State Economic Summit tagged “Ehingbeti 2001’’.
Adejokun said LAWMA as a regulatory agency, “regulates, monitor and sanction operators as the referee playing the same game with players under the PSP.’’
“We collect waste which is supposed to be done by the PSP operators, we monitor their activities and give them guidelines and tell them what to do and when they fail to do so we sanction them.’’
On heaps of disused tyres dotting the Lagos landscape, the LAWMA helmsman said the tyres were being mopped up across the metropolis for shredding, adding “it can be used for tarring roads instead of allowing some unscrupulous people to rethread and re-sell them as `tokunbo’ tyres.’’
He warned citizens against burning tyres or using it to burn animal or cow skin to process it to “ponmo’’ for consumption, describing it as hazardous to human health and polluting the environment.
Adejokun disclosed that more than 17,000 tons of waste were being generated daily in the state as a result of the ever increasing population of the mega city.
On the activities of scavengers, he said the scavengers at the various landfill and dumpsites in the state were stealing government’s revenue.
“We have got them to form an association and register with us. Each scavenger pays N2, 000 50 per cent goes to the government and 50 per cent to their association.’’