For decades, Lagos State faced major environmental challenges, and a large per cent of this attributed to waste generation and inadequate collection, transportation and disposal processes. To date, the state’s waste management system could not manage the volume generated by 17 million residents. This has resulted in a series of environmental crisis such as flooding, the spread of disease, the Olusosun fire outbreak and more. These challenges are a result of improper waste management.
In December 2017, the Olusosun dumpsite was closed. Reports revealed that the closure was due to the budding difficulties associated with the continued dumping of waste at the site, ranging from insufficient road access for waste collection trucks, to improper disposal of waste at the site. This proved it had become a major cause for concern; however, the lack of an accessible sanitary landfill, to cater to the poor standards of PSP operational vehicles resulted in the continued use of the dumpsite, which led to the March 2018 fire.
Looking at the overall economic objective of the state, waste management was viewed as a resource. Effective waste management doesn’t only foster economic development, by way of investment and the growth of SMEs, but also provides other opportunities such as municipal well-being, development, employment opportunities, and recycling revenue for state residents.
One of the issues the new waste management system is addressing is the proper disposal of waste. While the old waste management system was focused on waste collection – a linear approach – it did not look deeply into the disposal and treatment of collected waste. The reform is focused on moving from the old method of dumping, to an innovative model of waste disposal, from the construction of an engineered landfill, a constructed pit in which layers of solid waste are filled, compacted and covered for final disposal; to the retrofitting and development of the state’s transfer loading stations (TLS). Visionscape Sanitation Solutions has been assigned the task of constructing, monitoring and operating global-standard infrastructure to support the efficient management of waste. A core part of its project is the Epe landfill. The landfill originally operated as a dumpsite and was home to over two hundred waste-miners.
Visionscape is currently undergoing the development and construction of the 88-hectare site. It is the first of its kind and will feature a state-of-the-art weighbridge, control centre, materials recovery facility (MRF), a leachate and wastewater treatment plant, recycling facilities and a waste-to-energy plant. The lifespan of the project will run for duration of approximately 10 years. The new waste management system introduced by Lagos State, is still in its transition phase, and it therefore will need time to flourish.