Some streets in Ketu, in the Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State have been taken over by waste, while refuse littered a marketplace in the community.
PUNCH Metro, who visited Ademeyi, Ago Ijaye, Ogun River Road streets and Magodo Road last Thursday and on Tuesday observed that some drainage channels in the areas had been turned to rubbish dumps.
It was also observed that the ambience of the community was filled with stench from the abandoned waste.
Some residents approached by one of our correspondents attributed the environmental condition to the non payment of money usually charged by the Lagos State Waste Management Agency for the disposal of waste.
It was said that the PSP operators had not brought trucks to remove the waste in the last two months because the residents owed LAWMA.
A resident and seamstress, Mrs. Hannah Olubiyi, said, “People have not been paying their charges except a few houses in this community. I approached some LAWMA officials and they complained that we had not been paying our charges and that was why they stopped coming to remove our waste.
“They said the charges were used to pay workers’ salaries and maintain the equipment they use. Rubbish is now being thrown into drains. The drainage channels have become blocked.”
A community leader, Saheed Olayinka, attributed the unkempt environment to the stoppage of the monthly sanitation exercise in the state, saying people had become complacent about keeping their surroundings clean.
He said, “This place was not like this before. Immediately Lagos State stopped the monthly sanitation exercise, waste began to litter everywhere. LAWMA men have not been coming. They concentrate on estates.”
Another resident, Dada Saka, said, “I am a native of Isheri. My wife sells here. We are not happy about what is happening. If not for the mallams that pack the waste, this place would have become horrible.”
A LAWMA official, who spoke with PUNCH Metro on condition of anonymity, lamented that most residents had not paid their charges, which had frustrated waste management.
“I cover the Isheri and Kosofe areas. Many of these people complaining that we have refused to pack the waste have not paid for four months now. We sent letters to community leaders; no feedback.
“The only advice l have for the residents is to pay their waste charges. It is between N300 and N1,500 per month, depending on apartments.”
The Director, LAWMA Public Relations, Lanre Bajulaiye, said the affected areas were supposed to be handled by PSP operators under the agency. He, however, promised that LAWMA officials would go to the community to clear the waste.
He said, “The cancellation of the sanitation is the government’s decision that man hour should not be wasted for three hours by restricting the movement of the people. Cleaning should be part and parcel of our lives.
“Lagos is a megacity and the economy of the state is very crucial. What we lose in the state for the three hours is much more than what we achieve with the sanitation exercise. That was what led to the cancellation.
“Majority of residents believe that it is the responsibility of the government to take away their waste at no cost, which is never done anywhere in the world. The PSP operators are the ones in charge of inner roads. LAWMA is responsible for ensuring cleanliness of highways in Lagos. We only intervene in cases where there are issues that can lead to epidemic.
“I will ask our operation department to go to those areas and intervene; but those people have to pay.”
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