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Solid Waste Management and Solution to Pollution in Lagos State, Nigeria

by Adesokan Adedamola

Lagos, Nigeria.

Solid Waste Management

With the more massive chunk of the population on the African continent situating in Nigeria, it is expected that more waste and its consequences are on the high side. This is either due to the level of literacy or poverty. There is more improper waste disposal, so the state government is a saddle with the responsibility of ensuring effective management as mismanagement has caused many disease outbreaks like cholera, malaria, and several other environmental hazards.

So, Lagos State, Lagos is the largest city in Nigeria and Africa as a whole, has measures to curb this. The government of the state set up a body to be responsible for the management of waste. It is called LAWMA (Lagos State Waste Management Authority). This body has been saddled with the responsibility of managing garbage and its disposition. This body helps in collecting waste throughout the state for disposal or recycling. The sites for disposal and recycling includes the following but not limited to Olusosun Dumpsite (responsible for 40% of all total waste in Lagos, with 42.7 hectares), Solous2 and 3 dumpsites ( about 5 hectares with approximately 2,250m3 of waste per day), one at temu, Epe, and Simpson in Lagos Island. In the state, the immense pollution is through water and air.

Air pollution has about 60% of all the cases due to the high concentration of industries in the state and Water pollution, totalling about 30% of the rest. According to a journal by the World Bank through Pollution Management and Environmental Health (2020), the primary source of air pollution in the state is through Road transport, industrial emissions, and power generation. As reported, about 11,200 people died of this in 2018. The majority of the biggest companies operating in West Africa have their manufacturing or assembling industry here, so all the exhaust gas exhumed due to the combustion of fuels or diesel or gasoline are released into the air continually for years.

This is a significant concern for Lagosian because the environment is now porous hence toxic. Nigeria generates about 32 million tons of solid waste, and 30% of this is got from Lagos State. This state houses about 20 million people - you can then imagine the state's level of congestion. The level of pollution and improper disposal of solid waste is alarming. This gets to the point of littering waste on the streets not to imagine now what would be dumped on the waterways, gutters, and tunnels. To curb this menace that has overhauled the whole country, in 1989, the federal government of the state set-up National Policy for Environment to educate people on the importance of proper disposal of waste. This is later nicknamed as WIA (War Against Indiscipline). But then, another issue surged: the improper disposal of this waste by the authorities themselves.

Most of the time, all they do is dump it in a dumpsite or ocean or rivers, thereby contaminating the water source directly. This does lead to water flowing over its bank frequently in the state. Another issue of waste management is the fact that the dumpsites are close to residential areas. This means nothing short of just changing the waste location to another site but here with some efforts. According to bioenergy, 30% of all waste is collected by LAWMA, so about 70% is shared between the 35 states with the FCT.

In 2018, the Lagos State government established an initiative called "Cleaner Lagos Initiative." It is an outstanding initiative that its primary job was to improve solid waste management in the state. At a point too, the state government partnered with a private establishment, Visionscape Sanitation Solutions " to set up sanitary landfill depots in Mushin. The state hasn't been relenting to make sure the solid waste is well disposed, recycled, and managed.


Air is the principal medium of contamination in the state. Industries, cars, and domestic cooking all contribute to the processes that pollute the community. For domestic cooking, it has been advised that there should be a subtitle for firewood used for cooking to biofuel. This is going to reduce at least the smoke that is being released into the air. For the industries, it is really of urgent importance to situate their companies away from the communities. There should also be implementation and enforcement of the use of electric energy. For the automobiles, the state should ensure they do regular inspections of vehicles, and those that are not road-worthy should b taken off the road. This calls for urgent attention as it amounts to the highest cause of deaths in the state.

Water pollution, it is easily controllable. All it needs is conscious efforts and attention. The number of dumpsites should be increased; the agency should ensure proper disposal and timely packing of the household. The citizens should be encouraged to always their stuff neatly where the staff of LAWMA will be able to get rid of them quickly. If this is done, it is sure that the number of environmental issues will drastically be reduced and forgotten.


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