When Visionscape invited licensed Private Sector Participators (PSPs) for outsourcing of short-haul transportation of municipal waste within Lagos yesterday, Monday, the 12th day of February 2018, they advertised their incompetence, their inability to fulfill their contractual obligations for which they are celebrated as experts and to which our State Assembly unprecedentedly passed a law exclusive to them inserting the name of their company in Lagos State law to be the ONLY ones that MUST collect domestic waste from the State.
By this publication, they appropriated to themselves the role of State agencies of Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) and Ministry of Environment (MoE) amongst other regulating and statutory agencies. They also tacitly showed that the PSPs are good at what they do. PSPs have been helping them move most of the waste they appropriated to themselves through State laws while their promoters look helplessly as their contractor daily engage the services of these same operators they have disparaged all over their sponsored media. This Government can outspend us, stifle us but they cannot outlive us. The beauty of waste management is in its transparency. It has a way of showcasing and regulating itself. We will all see if it’s working or not and if the State is clean, cleaner or cleanest.
The expert has asked 22million residents of Lagos State to wait for 18months. We are waiting! The 48hours advertorial timeframe of the publication shows a false illusion of self-worth. Visionscape assumes that the legislation of operators out of existence through the connivance of the State Legislature will send operators scampering to their office. They are dead wrong. It will only send them job-seekers. They will soon realize that we are investors too and money talks. We need millions to fuel and fix the trucks on a daily basis and those who worked hard to earn it will not fritter it away just because a company enjoys waste monopoly. Visionscape is just a glorified PSP whom our State resources, land, building and money is placed at its beck and call. Somewhere along the line they will run out of money or the State will go broke funding them without private capital. If the government is really interested in Cleaner Lagos or even cleanest Lagos, let them give the PSPs the same contract terms as Visionscape and we will deliver in a week.
By the way, Government is yet to pay PSPs commercial December 2017 service bill. It is this kind of indebtedness that brings distrust and fuels the demand for self-service charge collection. We brought billions in private capital and expertise. A lack of understanding of waste management situation in Lagos State results in the inability of the government to fix the dumpsite, the final resting place of waste. The dumpsites are full. It is a disaster waiting to happen. As the waste continue to react and decay, it may catch fire and burn continuously sometimes for weeks and may consume others around it. It may also collapse taking in all the trucks and the people around it burying them alive.
PSPs have no problem of collection, they have a problem of dumping. The issues that created those fault lines have not been addressed and will continue to wreak havoc on any program Lagos State has whether the cleaner or cleanest Lagos initiatives. Operators will continue to be inefficient if they cannot dump sometimes for as much as 48hours. The government may buy 1million trucks but the waste management situation will not improve.
Waste requires management. Collection and transportation are just one of its component. The government has to work on its waste prevention and diversionary strategies on what is fueling the disposal of so much waste and find other ways to manage it.
By Dara Oshodi
Op-Ed: The views expressed in this article are the sole opinion of the writer.
Waste Management, Lagos State, PSP, Visionscape, LAWMA, MOE
Author: Suhaib Arogundade
Suhaib Arogundade is an enthusiastic young professional who has interest in commodity trading, mindset redesigning, and waste management research.
Suhaib is the Chief Waste Eliminator at WasteWatch Africa.