Following shut-down of Nigeria’s largest recycling company, Alkem Industry at Apapa, Lagos, some weeks ago, the Lagos State government has warned that whoever is found throwing waste materials or cans improperly within the state would be dealt with according to the law.
Since the shut down of Alkem Industry, the issue of waste management has become a concern to Lagos State Waste Management Agency (LAWMA), the largest collector of waste in Lagos State for over 4 years.
This has prompted the Lagos State government, through the the Ministry of Environment, to raise awareness on how to dispose waste materials, especially to those Lagos residents who carelessly throw disposable plastics and snacks pack out of commercial and private vehicles windows.
The ministry also warned that whoever is found throwing any form of waste material improperly shall be duly dealt with according to the law.
Speaking at the Environment Watch Summit held on the 6th of June, 2014 at the PSSD centre, Magodo, Mr Michael Ogunjuyigbe said the mentality of Lagosians to throw disposable plastics and snacks pack out of the vehicle window is becoming more appalling than ever before.
He urged the government to introduce a more stern punishment for the offense.
“It has been discovered that the way and manner Lagosians go about disposing waste materials within the metropolis has shown that the level of awareness of the citizens is not enough,” Ogunjuyigbe stated.
He added that: “We have seen from survey that the people deemed it responsible to throw plastic bottles out of the vehicle windows than laying it low in the vehicle while the drivers clean up the bus after the day’s job.
“The impact of their ignorant has today become evident in the high level of waste congestion as seen in our environment today.
Investigation has shown that since the sudden shut-down of Alkem Industry in March 2014, about 2,017 gutters and 118 link-carnal are already blocked with waste materials in Lagos State.
Ogunjuyigbe stated that this ‘consequentially pose threat to residents in Lagos State’.
He further buttressed that the rainy season is already here and if drastic steps are not taken as a matter of urgency, the flood experience in 2011 will be a child’s play.
Commenting on the indiscriminate disposal of waste materials within Lagos, Mrs. Kemi Fasode, a LAWMA staff, explained that the rate at which waste is being disposed in Lagos State in recent times has become an issue of concern.
She added that disposal rate that used to be 20 trucks per day has increased to 65 trucks per day.
“Our road cleaners are also few compare to the dirt that constitute nuisance on our roads today. We watch commuters throw wastes through the windows of their vehicles to our faces even as we clean the road,” she stated.
“It is not that the waste materials are more than what we used to have in Lagos but because our largest collecting agents no longer operate makes it obvious that there is an urgent need for regulations on how people dispose waste materials in Lagos State.”
Mrs Ogboye Monisola, 32, a business woman,shares her experience in a commercial bus as she tried to correct a fellow commuter who chose to throw an empty bottle of Pepsi through the window of a commuter bus .
“I was coming from the Island two days ago and boarded a bus to Oshodi. The lady who was sitting by my side wanted to throw an empty bottle of Pepsi through the window on the Third Mainland Bridge.
“I quickly cautioned her and urged her to leave it on the floor as I was sure that the bus coordinator will clean up when we get down. I was shocked with the way she looked at me with disdain and hissed as she eventually threw the plastic bottle into the lagoon anyway.
“She then looked at my face andasked me if I could tell her who owns the lagoon that makes me to complain on its behalf.
“I was baffled with her ignorance,” she narrated.
An attempt to find out the cause of sudden closure Alkem Industry through a staff of the company, who pleaded to be anonymous, revealed that the sudden closure was as a result of high degree of gross mismanagement by the Indian executives who own the company.