Cynthia, her husband and three kids are residents of the Ajako area of Shasha. They were woken by a stench one Saturday morning.

In the state of confusion, one of kids asked; "Dad, did a rat die in our house"?

It was later discovered that the horrible stench that woke up the neighbourhood up was oozing few meters away.

Some residents had dumped heaps of refuse indiscriminately on the road, making vehicular movement difficult.

According to the Lagos Commissioner for Environment, Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti, the mega city generates over 13,000 tons of waste per day.

The last Saturday of every month was then set aside for the task of clearing refuse.

However, following a court ruling, the last Saturday of the month cleaning exercise was quashed and the government announced new measures for continuous cleaning.

Few months later, the whole metropolis was overtaken by huge refuse and all eyes were on the government to come out with an urgent solution to the refuse debacle in order to nip a sudden outbreak of epidemic in the bud.

Vision 2018

A company called Visionscape came of out the blues and began to make its presence felt in some council areas.

Its heavy paraphernalia obviously battle-ready to combat the Lagos refuse like never before.

There have been noticeable efforts at clean up by officials of Visionscape but piles of refuse are still visible in some parts of the metropolis.

A shop owner in the Shasha area of the state, simply known as Kemi, said the heaps of rubbish indiscriminately dumped in her area has made movement around the place quite unpleasant. 

She said apart from contending with the stench that comes from the waste, vehicles and pedestrians go through a lot of troubles trying to navigate the section.

“This problem of illegal dumping of refuse had been eliminated in the past but in recent months, it has resurfaced again especially since many of the PSP trucks no longer come into the community to collect refuse.

“Apart from the effect this is having on traffic around this area, the smell is chasing away our customers, thereby affecting our businesses seriously. 

"From Saturday till Monday, I am not sure I have recorded N6,000 in sales because all those who should patronise us are avoiding this axis because of the refuse dumped all over the place,” she said.

Hasty Decision?

Explaining why PSP trucks no longer go into neighbourhoods to collect waste as often as they used to in the past, Fatai Oni, an operator, spoke to Bounce News.

According to him, besides giving their jobs to foreign firms at better terms and conditions, Lagos authorities have refused to recognise and appreciate their roles in building the smart city.

“Many of us in the business of waste collection are not getting the type of encouragement we should get from government and that is why everything seems to be at a standstill these days.

“Even though there were so many areas we need to improve on to serve members of the public better, I do not think we were doing badly.

"All we needed was just for the Lagos State Government to give us the type of support we needed to thrive. Instead, they went to bring foreign firms to take over the industry despite all the money that we have invested in making this sector what it is today.

“This is part of the reasons why many of our trucks are no longer on the road collecting refuse, thus leading to indiscriminate dumping of waste on our roads,” he said.

Did the state government get it right in discarding the private waste operators?

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