His Excellency, the executive governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, signed the Environmental Management and Protection Bill into law on the 1st of March 2017, due to the fact that majority of the State’s environmental laws were outdated and could no longer apply to the present-day conditions.
According to the Governor, it was disconcerting to see that dysentery and other pandemics were on the rise with serious implications for the State’s public health expenditure, adding that the government thought it wise to tackle the root cause of the problem rather than spend excessively on treating preventable hygiene based diseases.
According to him, the major motivating factor was the fact that children were the greatest casualties of the poor management of the environment, hence the need for the initiative.
The present challenge
The current challenge the Cleaner Lagos Initiative is facing has to do with the difficulty experienced in the transition process. As Visionscape assumes the mantle of the residential waste collection, existing PSPs are gradually eased into the commercial waste collection. This change in the prevailing system wasn’t as smooth as expected and as such, there were some noticeable gaps, which are currently being closed up and will be non-existent within the coming weeks.
Vetting process for CSWs and PSPs
For PSPs, now referred to as Waste Collection Operators (WCOs), a series of re-certification exercises were held in Lagos state and supervised by the Ministry of Environment, LAWMA, VIS, VIO, and MOT. The recently concluded re-certification exercises saw 502 compactors inspected, 120 of which fell short of the standards set by the bodies involved.
As at the time of this report, there are currently 326 approved Waste Collection Operators under the Cleaner Lagos Initiative.
For CSWs, there was no educational qualification required of applicants beyond good physical and mental health. Medical tests were also run to determine that applicants were fit and free of disease. Location was also a factor as the job wasn’t open to applicants who didn’t reside in Lagos. However, a certain level of education was required of the supervisors who were employed and assigned to manage the CSWs and oversee their daily activities at ward level.
How many PSPs were approved?
Asides Visionscape Sanitation who is the sole concessionaire of the residential waste collection in Lagos, there are currently 325 Waste Collection Operators under the Cleaner Lagos Initiative. This number isn’t indicative of the machines projected to handle commercial waste collection operators, as each Waste Collection Operator usually has 2 or more compactors in their employ. There are 6 categories of waste including; Healthcare, Building, Recyclable, Hazardous, Industrial, and Special Industrial waste. All these categories are adequately covered and catered to by certified waste collection operators and no sector is left unaccounted for.
For more information on the types of licenses available, please visit www.cleanerlagos.org
While there are currently 1,719 CSWs in operation in Lagos State, the kitting exercise is an ongoing process and more of them are being deployed daily.
Investment opportunities for all (CSW, PSP, Mechanics, Cottage Industries, etc.)
One of the goals of the Cleaner Lagos Initiative is the creation of mass employment for youths and Lagosians in general. Thus the recruitment of 27,500 Community Sanitation Workers was designed to create additional job opportunities for 40,000 people, including, but not exclusive to supervisors in charge of CSWs, Ward Resident Contractors assigned to each ward, mechanics to maintain and service machines and compactors, tailors to sew and mend garments etc. These opportunities are all-encompassing, even going as far as reaching scavengers at Epe Landfill who will be integrated into the Cleaner Lagos Initiative as resource miners eligible to earn monthly wages, work in shifts, go on annual leave, receive formal education and more benefits.
Other added value for the (Health Insurance, pension and tax-free salaries etc)
The Cleaner Lagos Initiative is an inclusive scheme that integrates residents in Lagos state from all socio-economic classes. Community Sanitation Workers under the initiative are entitled to tax-waivered salaries, health insurance schemes, pension allowances, and other advantages including total withdrawal from highway cleaning, full Personal Protective Equipment, and a schedule crafted to ensure that CSWs work in the wards where they reside. This ensures that transportation costs do not eat into their wages.
The future for CLI
As the Cleaner Lagos Initiative progresses from Residential and Commercial waste collection, the next phase will be an implementation of marine waste collection, environmental remediation, more infrastructural upgrades and a potential waste-to-energy setup which will actively position Lagos as the CLEANEST and GREENEST state in Africa by 2025.