Lagos hires Dutch firm for waste recycling

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A woman drives a waste truck in Lagos
Dutch firm coming: A waste truck being driven by a woman in Lagos

Dele Akinsola/Lagos

A Dutch firm will soon begin collaboration with the Lagos State government to harness its waste, Mr Olumuyiwa Adejokun,  CEO of Lagos Waste Management Authority said.

“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  Adejokun, who took over LAWMA in 2016.

Adejokun said  the project with the Dutch firm would be a public-private initiative.

“It is a veritable option to adopt in recycling our waste which we generate daily in thousands of tons.

 

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.

Former Gov. Bola Tinubu’s administration in 2001  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 re-thread 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.’’

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