By Okuanwan Offiong and Vivian Ihechu
Some residents of Lawanson and Mushin environs of Lagos State are groaning over the continued accumulation of refuse heaps in the areas.
The residents, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday, called on the relevant authorities to intensify efforts in evacuating the refuse currently scattered all over the place.
NAN reports that piles of unsightly refuse seen on the road medians along the Lawanson-Itire road (Lawanson Bus Stop) and Mushin roads were capable of creating health and environmental challenges.
Mr Bamidele Farouk, a banker residing within the vicinity, described the situation as embarrassing and unhealthy.
“For a town aspiring to be a “mega city’’ to have such heaps of refuse yet to be evacuated from the roads, is embarrassing.
“It is not a sight to behold and urgent action should be done to address the situation which is unhealthy.
“For example, along this Lawanson-Itire road, the heaps have stretched from the Total Filling Station/Anjorin Bus-Stop to MRS Filling Station/Jubril Martins Road junction; and, it is extending.
“The heaps are already bringing out offensive odour, thereby making passers-by and residents to always cover their noses,’’ Farouk said.
Mr Segun Ogunkoya, a bus driver, told NAN that the heaps of refuse had not been removed by the state waste managers for several days.
Ogunkoya, said, “Residents and traders bag their refuse and bring to the median for evacuation. Unfortunately, the refuse collectors have not been coming with their trucks and the heaps are piling up.
“With time, the refuse in-between the roads are loosening and are already being scattered all over the place.
“We call on the agency of government in charge of waste management to urgently come and evacuate the accumulated refuse; the smell is bad, the sight is ugly and it is encroaching where we load passengers,’’ Ogunkoya said.
Mrs Philomena Udoh, a teacher, said, “As the heaps of refuse are mounting on the major roads, the connecting and adjoining roads are worse off.
“If you go around Cole, Anjorin, Oseni, Aborishade, Babalola, Ishaga, Garba Musa and all other streets around, one will literally run away because of the huge volume of accumulated filth.
“The relevant authorities should please do something fast before our people, especially the vulnerable ones like children and women, start falling ill,’’ Udoh said.
Mrs Munirat Owolabi, a trader at the Idi- Oro Market in Mushin, also called on the government to hasten the evacuation of the heaps of refuse along the Mushin- Idi-Oro Market road.
“Allowing these heaps of refuse to remain here is an eyesore.
“The stench is horrible; people navigate through the heaps and selling wares amidst these heaps is not good at all.
“We are looking up to the government to do the needful; it is their responsibility to provide a good waste disposal mechanism and we expect them to do so.
“We are yet to see the supposedly new investors swing into action; they should please do so quickly,’’ Owolabi said.
On the associated health implications of the continued presence of the refuse, Dr Gerald Williams, said it could result into an outbreak of cholera, malaria, water and air airborne diseases, as well as skin infections.
Williams, who commutes from Cele area of Lagos through Lawanson to Surulere where he works, said that he was taken aback at how the refuse had mounted; yet, nothing had been done to evacuate it.
“This goes to show how many the lives and welfare of citizens are valued; it is sad.
“These heaps serve as good breeding places for vermin and agents of disease such as pests, rats, flies and mosquitoes.
“Mosquitoes cause malaria; houseflies are agents of bacteria that carry diseases including diarrhea, typhoid, cholera and dysentery and rats are known to transmit diseases such as Lassa fever, Leptospirosis and some other Haemorrhagic fevers.
“Also, when the refuse continues to stay on the roads, the thrash starts decomposing; liquid will leak out and contaminate surface water, ground water, boreholes, our entire water bodies and the ecosystem.
“So, government should as a matter of urgency, ensure that the heaps of refuse are evacuated without further delay,’’ he said.
Williams said that the heaps of refuse could also result into outbreak of skin and respiratory diseases.
NAN reports that Mr Segun Adeniji, General Manager, LAWM A had said that 35 per cent of the equipment required for the onset of waste evacuation in the Lagos metropolis had arrived.
“From this year , all operations will be carried out by a competent body called Visionscape International, and the agency will handle all waste and refuse issues,” he said.
According to him, the company will commence the clearing of waste in a fortnight with the available equipment.
“We will soon start living under the conditions of a new programme called the ‘Cleaner Lagos Initiative’ (CLI) in the next few weeks when the equipment rolls out.
He said that LAWMA was now a regulatory body, as against the time when LAWMA was only carrying out 90 per cent operations and 10 per cent regulations.