by Ajadi Daniel
The Cleaner Lagos Initiative is fast becoming a failure from the beginning, the singular reason for this is because LASG failed to consider the pros and cons of the policy in consonance with what was on ground before it was adopted. It is difficult to tell if the current administration asked pertinent questions such as: was there anything wrong with the previous waste management policy? If there was something wrong, does it warrant doing away with the policy immediately or in the nearest future why we work on an alternative? As if all these were not enough, the policy then failed to be people inclusive, for all these reasons, The Cleaner Lagos Initiative is fast becoming the Dirtier Lagos Initiative.
The policy which is to be implemented by Visionscape, an organization which has no prior experience on waste management business in Nigeria, though reputed to be a global waste management company obviously came to Nigeria basically for Lagos. The question then is, how did the Lagos state government arrive at choosing Visionscape to pioneer the Cleaner Lagos Initiative, why only visionscape? The reason why the previous waste management policy worked was because it involves several PSPs, so why jettison that arrangement for nothing other than a partnership between Lagos and Visionscape?
Visionscape is said to have 500 compactors, something we cannot verify, but even at that 500 compactors is never enough for a Lagos population that is estimated at 21 million. An initiative that is committed to waste management in Lagos will require far more than 500 compactors that would have to be working 24 hours none stop on a seven days basis. Under the present arrangement, visionscape is in charge of domestic waste, they have waste bins at various points in the state, so they claimed they have over 500, 000 waste bins situated in places commonly known as dump sites, but their trucks take time before coming to empty the bins. The bin in most situations becomes full and then people begin disposing their waste on the ground around the bin, which makes everywhere messy and even at that the trucks don’t come. The reason is not far-fetched, 500 trucks cannot go round 57 local governments and LCDAs and 377 wards. 10 compactors per LGA or LCDA with the present 500 is not even enough. Lagos will continue to be dirty because the present partnership does not have enough resources to manage waste in the state.
Under the Cleaner Lagos Initiative, LAWMA is a regulator and no longer combining this with being an operator, unlike in the previous setting where it was both a regulator and an operator. The Cleaner Lagos Initiative will hire and train 27,500 community sanitation workers who will be evenly distributed within the 377 wards in Lagos, according to the Cleaner Lagos Website., they have a new uniform, the question then is what happened to those under LAWMA, or were they recruited by Visionscape?
Visionscape is responsible for domestic waste, while PSPs have been shifted to handling commercial waste under the present arrangement, but despite this the organization has not done well in the handling of domestic waste. Lagosians were not even carried along in the enactment of the policy, Lagos is becoming dirtier than it used to be.
We think the Lagos state government was too enthusiastic about the policy that they never considered a systematic implementation that will entails test running it in one or two areas to ascertain the feasibility before a state wide implementation. Based on the current situations, visionscape alone might not be able to manage domestic waste in the state.
Lagos requires more private sector participation in the waste business, the only way to completely get rid of dirt in the state is to completely deregulate this sector, thus partnership with visionscape is nothing but another failure in the offing.