Lagos State Government has again lauded the contributions of an environmental utility group, Visionscape Sanitations Solution Limited to the current efforts of his administration to evolve international best practice in the management of the environment, saying that the firm deserved commendation for its determination to ensure the success of the Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI).

Speaking on a television programme monitored in Lagos, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode said so far so good, over 500, 000 brand-new e-waste bins and brand-new compactors have been brought in by Visionscape without receiving a kobo from government, while the company is also transforming the transfer loading stations at Simpson, Oshodi and Agege.

In addition, Governor Ambode revealed that a modern engineered sanitary landfill is currently being constructed in Epe by Visionscape, while an exercise tagged ‘Operation Deep Clean’ meant to be a stopgap for the full take off of the CLI, is simultaneously going on across the State to evacuate waste and ensure every part of the State is clean.

While justifying the rationale behind the new waste management initiative, the Governor said: “In the last two years, we have found out that Lagos generates one of the highest volumes of waste in the world. At the last count, documented waste in Lagos was estimated at 13,000 tonnes per day. Considering undocumented statistics, we can add an additional 4,000 tonnes per day to that figure.

“Now, if we want to be revolutionary, if we want to be globally competitive, if we want to deliver on the promise that I made to accomplish a clean, safe, and prosperous Lagos, we cannot use the same template that has been in use from the past. Cleaning Lagos and keeping the environment clean has nothing to do with environmental sanitation and putting your economic productivity at a standstill for three hours every month. That will not clean Lagos.

“Cleaning Lagos means we should give Lagosians scientifically treated land fill sites, transfer loading stations, functional dyno-bins, functional compactors, brand new materials and also be able to employ more people. That is why I extended my hand to the private sector for a partnership that will lead to the introduction of 500 brand new compactors, employ more than 27,000 street sweepers across the various wards in Lagos and create 200,000 indirect jobs. And we are commencing this in another few weeks,” Governor Ambode said.

The Governor stressed that he was not oblivious of the concerns of the people who have been cleaning Lagos in the past years, and that the new policy was not intended to send them out of jobs, rather it would help scale up their businesses.

According to him, “The new model is a win-win for all of us; I have offered them a 100 percent income from the commercial enterprise, so that our private sector participants (PSPs) can gain capacity and also get more capital to do more work. There are over 5,000 companies in Lagos – enough to go around all the PSP operators, with a minimum of 15 companies to each PSP. The government can support them to make their contract with those companies bankable.

“So, while we are using the Cleaner Lagos Initiative to clean private residences and domestic refuse, our original PSP operators are compensated by dealing with companies and getting 100 percent revenues with just one percent administrative charges to Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA). In the past, LAWMA collected 40 percent in charges.

“This reform is a product of deep thought and serious human consideration for the environment and all stakeholders. We promise Lagosians that effective from September – within six months – they will see the difference. All they need to do to help us achieve this goal is to cooperate with the government and pay the annual public utility levy in accordance with the law. This is what will fund the project.

“Our bins will be cleared systematically on a daily basis. The same way the refuse on Adeola Odeku is cleared is the same way refuse in Badagry, Ayobo, Agege and other parts of Lagos will be cleared,” Governor Ambode explained.

By Marc Philips