The newly formed Lagos Environmental Sanitation Corps, LAGESC, formerly known as the Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI), has disclosed t Â hat its top priority as it begins operation will be to ensure that environmental infractions become a thing of the past in the state.
The Executive Secretary of LAGESC, Mrs. Idowu Mohammed disclosed this on Tuesday at a press conference to intimate the people about the activities of the new Corps. She also stated that LAGESC will make sure that the environment is kept clean at all times in line with the mandate of Cleaner Lagos Initiative.
She assured that henceforth, LAGESC will prevent market women and traders generally from displaying their wares on the road.
Mohammed said the corps would now be used to police the highways to ensure that people did not dump refuse indiscriminately on the roads in order to ensure a cleaner Lagos.
â€œThe sanitation corps will now clear the pathways and bridges and dislodge people selling on the road. They will make sure that the roads are clean and that there is no infraction. They will make sure that the Public Utility Levy is paid by residents of Lagos State.
She assured residents of the state that the new corps will carry out its responsibilities with international best practices, noting that gone were the days when KAI officials conducted their affairs in less civilised manners.
â€œWe are out to serve the residents with all civility and decorum. Governmentâ€™s aim is to provide and promote a cleaner and healthy environment, devoid of indiscriminate dumping of refuse and drainage blockade,â€ she said.
Mohammed that the Lagos State Government will deploy motorized trucks to sweep highways across the state rather than allow street sweepers to do the job, which previously endangered their lives and exposed them to the risk of being knocked down by vehicles.
The LAGESC top executive said motorized trucks would now sweep the highways and that over 27,000 of the 30,000 sweepers that would be recruited would be made to sweep streets in their communities and be paid salaries above the N18,000 minimum wage.
â€œUnder the Cleaner Lagos Initiative, 30,000 jobs will be created for sweepers. We have an agreement backed up by the Lagos State Government. In the old waste management system, wastes were collected, but the disposal mechanism was the problem,â€ she said.
Managing Director, Solid Waste Management (SWM) Solutions, a consultant to the Lagos State government, Tolagbe Martins, while assuring the public of better days ahead in waste management, stated that the Cleaner Lagos Initiative was incomplete without effective enforcement and total compliance, adding that this is where LAGESC will play dominant roles.
â€œThe aim of Cleaner Lagos Initiative is to create an enabling environment for investment. The passage of the law enabling private sector participation in waste management has made it a reality,â€ she stated.
Martins explained that the â€œPublic Utility Levies (PUL) is a property-based charge applicable to all properties within the state. It has replaced all previous waste management leviesâ€. She added that under the new dispensation, the Public Utilities Monitoring and Assurance Unit (PUMAU) has been created to coordinate PUL bill generation.
She also disclosed that the Lagos State Government had concessioned three Landfills under the Build, Own, Operate and Transfer, BOOT, for a period of 25 years, adding that this would take effect from next year.
She said pending the readiness of the three landfills, the government would make do with what was available now, but noted that the Olusosun dumpsite would be closed immediately the landfills were ready.
It will be recalled that Governor Ambode recently announced during the soft launch of the Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI) that the laws had created an enabling environment for the private sector to harness international best practice in solid waste management which will consequently free public funds for other beneficial uses.