The present administration in Lagos State has reinvigorated the environmental sector in the last one year, restoring the mandate of its agencies and making the State cleaner.
The Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tunji Bello, made this assertion during the 2020 Ministerial Press Briefing as part of activities to commemorate the first year in office of Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the Governor of Lagos State, held at the JJT Park, Alausa.
Bello added that the Ministry has also in the last one year improved the drainage network in the state to facilitate free flow of water through its proper channels.
Bello added that all the drainage channels in the State are being touched in a continuous cleaning and maintaining exercise.
He said while some of the drainage channels have been cleaned up, they are being revisited on a regular basis to ensure that they don’t return to the terrible state in which they were some five or more years ago.
He expressed commitment to fostering a clean, healthy and sustainable environment for the well-being of the citizenry through the application of best practices in the environmental management.
He said one of the first steps taken was the rejuvenation of the Lagos State Waste Management Authority, which is now at the forefront of waste collection.
He stated that the State is currently witnessing a cleaner environment as a result of the strategies put in place to stabilise waste collection activities on public highways such as Ikeja, Agege, Alimosho, Iba, Otto Awori and Badagry Expressway among others.
The Commissioner reveals that Government through LAWMA has been monitoring the activities of accredited private sector participants with a view to assess their level of service delivery and address all challenges promptly, adding that the PSP operators are being empowered and encouraged to acquire new equipments
Bello reiterated that in order to promote extraction of resources and use of recycling to conserve natural resources, government introduced the Blue Box waste sorting programme.
He said: “It encouraged sorting of wastes at source and encouraging people to generate revenue from their waste.”
He explained the State Government has decided to rebrand and reposition the Lagos Environmental Sanitation Corps, now to be Known as Kick Against Indiscipline.
“The operatives will now adorn the green uniform, which symbolises the environment, unlike the previous peach coloured uniform and will stick to their primary role of ensuring that people obey all sanitation laws,” Bello explained.
He revealed that the organisation has also expanded its operational division to 21 from 10 for efficiency.
Realising that the State requires attention for sustainable development in the face of incessant flood, Bello reported that the Drainage Maintenance Team has embarked on the dredging and cleaning of all primary and secondary drainage channels in the State.
He said: “We have been engaging in regular desilting of all drainage channels through the Emergency Flood Abatement Gangs and also procured tipping trucks that swiftly cart away the silts generated from the cleaned drains.”
According to the Commissioner: “From January till date, the Emergency Flood Abatement Gang has carried out routine maintenance cleaning and emergency de-flooding interventions on 47 Numbers Secondary Collector Drains, about 13 critical channels have been worked on so far which includes dredging and maintenance, while an approval has been gotten for the maintenance cleaning of 192 secondary collectors spread throughout the 20 Local Government Areas of the State.”
Reporting that the drainage clearing is a continuous project, Bello, however, cautioned the citizens against poor waste disposal habits, saying it will bring about effective and enduring flood control measures.
He reported the resuscitation of all environmental related school clubs created to educate the younger generation on environmental issues.
He explained that the clubs has been harmonised under one umbrella Club, which has now been rechristened: Environment Bees Club.
Bello revealed further that government through the Parks and Garden Agency was also embarking on an aggressive tree planting campaign to mitigate the effect of climate change, adding that the total stock of trees planted has risen to 7,411,584 out of the 10 million targeted by the end of Y2020.
LASPARK, according to the Commissioner, added to already existing parks in the State by commissioning the Dr. Abayomi Finnih Recreational Park at Oregun, Ikeja, re-modelled and upgraded the Garden at Ebute Ipakodo, Ikorodu into a Recreational Park for public use.
He said government in its commitment to bring back the beauty of the blighted area in Outer Marina, has embarked on a beautification project at Apongbon to State House, Marina and started the landscaping and beautification of Apapa-Oshodi Road setback at Afolabi Lesi Street, Ilupeju.
In reaction to continuous report from the citizens on noise pollution in the State, the Commissioner disclosed that Government has successfully reduced noise pollution in religious houses, club houses and events centres.
Bello disclosed further that while LASEPA monitors noise level at religious houses and clubs, government has also assisted in curtailing the excesses of patrons of such clubs who block roads and cause traffic congestion all in the name of unwinding.
He said: “As part of effort towards curbing the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, LASEPA also conducted Air Quality Assessment of Lagos Environment during COVID-19 lockdown in partnership with the Nigeria Environmental Society to generate data on the Air Quality of Lagos in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic as a basis for possible policy formulations during post—COVID-19 Era.
“The agency was also at the forefront of testing chemicals and concentrates used in disinfecting major bus stops, motor parks and garages during the lockdown.”
The commissioner said the ministry also carried out a major clean-up exercise of Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Obalende axis of the state, restoring the lost glory of the vicinity, which came about as a result of the gross environmental degradation and wanton disregard for physical planning regulations.
Also at the briefing were the Special Adviser Drainages, Engr. Joe Igbokwe; Permanent Secretary, Office of Environment Services, Aderonke Odeneye; and Permanent Secretary, Office of Drainage Services, Engr. Lekan Shodeinde, among several other dignitaries.