Following the fire outbreak at the Olusorun dumpsite in Ojota among other issues emanating from the new waste management, Visionscape of the Cleaner Lagos Initiative will now focus on waste infrastructural development while Private Sector Participants (PSP) operators now referred to as Waste Collection Operators (WCOs) will resume residential waste collection.

Even though there are parties among the WCOs who are still not happy with the arrangement, the chief executive officer, visionscape sanitation solution Mr. John Irvine said, “this is about reform and change takes time. The government and people of the state didn’t realise how long a transition like this takes time and so to fast track this, it is best to involve the WCOs to deliver the door-to-door collection while we focus on infrastructure and deliver quicker than expected.

“Over the course of the next 18 months, you will find a cleaner, more transparent and a more beneficial waste infrastructure. We are willing to financially assist the WCOs if they want to purchase new trucks, we are not here to take the source of livelihood from people but to enhance it.”

The visionscape boss further stressed, “We can’t deliver a 21st century service with 20th century equipment, we are putting up infrastructures that in 10 -15 years we don’t face the same issues we face now, we are building a future for another 20 million people.”

On remuneration for WCOs and utility bill distribution, Mr. Irvine said that WCOs working directly with them in the past three months get paid as soon as they submit their invoice. “We also gave 250, 000 naira advance to every WCO who came to work for us to show them how serious we are and we want to push that relationship forward. The state government brought up a utility levy but as it stands it’s been put on hold and so the state government pays the bills, we are still being paid as part of the CLI project to collect waste and we pay the WCOs.”

For areas already turned to dumpsites on the streets, he added that they stopped distribution of waste bags as they couldn’t determine the outcome of the negotiations.
“My commitment to you is that in the coming weeks you will see waste bags and bins everywhere and bills will follow. We just had to be sure we had the right WCOs working for us because the existing ones are not working in the areas they used to work.”

By Ijeoma Opara