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Save our business from extinction, waste managers beg LSHA

Save our business from extinction, waste managers beg LSHA

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Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi

The Private Sector Participants in waste management has called on the Lagos State House of Assembly to save their business from going into extinction.

In a petition written to the House of Assembly by the PSP operators and obtained by our correspondent, the waste managers said they were the answer to the current filthy state of the Lagos environment.

The petition signed by the Chairman, Association of Waste Managers of Nigeria, Mr. Ola Egbeyemi, and Secretary, Mr. Taiye Kolade, read in part, “We appeal for your intervention to save our business from extinction and save over 25,000 local jobs that we have created; and that the PSP operators are allowed to continue to operate in the domestic waste collection and commercial waste collection.

“The policy to restrict the waste operator to only commercial waste collection will destroy all existing operators and investments. Our prayers include that the House should intervene to save Lagosians from an imminent health hazard that may be caused by the current filthy environment. Foreign investors should also be encouraged to invest in the lacking infrastructure that will support effective waste management such as material recovery facilities and engineered sanitary landfills, among others.”

The Lagos State Government had in 2016 started the Cleaner Lagos Initiative and had appointed VisionScape Sanitation Solutions Limited to handle domestic waste collection and disposal, while the PSP operators were asked to handle commercial waste.

The waste managers stated that prior to the CLI, the industry had received over N6bn worth of investments by local investors and had provided over 25,000 direct and indirect employments, but had been going through a period of uncertainty for over two years now.

They added, “The government’s consultant running the CLI has confirmed that the PSP operators, as currently constituted have 931 functional trucks following the recertification exercise. We now have a classic case of the foreign company without capacity trying to engage local investors with close to 1,000 trucks and over 20 years of experience on the job and offering unprofitable and unsustainable terms.

“The government has decided to restrict the PSP operators to manage only commercial waste collection, which is less than 20 per cent of our current activities. The current market value of the commercial waste collection is N301m, while the number of enlisted for PSP operators is 365, with a total number of 931 trucks.”

According to the waste managers, while the sharing of the commercial waste collection provides some revenue for them, it is still grossly inadequate to make them viable.

Meanwhile, the management of VisionScape has restated its commitment to fulfilling its part in the Cleaner Lagos Initiative as well as willingness to work with the PSP operators in the state.

The Head, Corporate Communications, VisionScape, Motunrayo Elias, said over 100 PSP operators had joined the firm to aid waste collection in the state.

“Our plan is to service all the residential areas in the streets of Lagos State. We have a lot of black spots or illegal dumpsites in the states. We want to clear all the black spots before moving into the residential areas,” she said.

Elias, who appreciated the PSP operators for all the work that had been done before VisionScape came in, stated that the company was willing to work with them.

She also stated that VisionScape was embarking on an advocacy programme at the grass roots level.

The Head of Planning, VisionScape Sanitation Solutions, Kiran Reddy, said the company had cleared 2,000 of the almost 5,000 illegal dumpsites in the state.

He stated that the 5,000 illegal dumpsites, also known as black spots, were found during a baseline study of the state.

“We found approximately 5,000 black spots with waste from five tonnes to 150 tonnes, and we have cleaned up approximately 2,000 black spots. We rented trucks and used pay loaders just to clean these dumpsites,” he said.

Reddy explained that over 15,000 bins and four million plastic bags had been distributed across the state, and that by the end of August, over 20,000 galvanised bins and 10 million plastic bags would have been distributed.

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