With over 20 million residents creating over 13,000 metric tonnes of waste per day, managing waste in a state like Lagos remains a challenging task. While the Lagos State Waste Management Agency (LAWMA) has done its best to rid the state of filth, or at least keep it under control, the end destination of these refuse – the dumpsites – does not appear to receive the attention that they deserve. As a result, they pose a serious health risk to anyone who lives or works nearby.
For example, the Olusosun and Igando dumpsites, where tonnes of dirt are deposited everyday, occupy vast areas of land in heavily inhabited areas of the state. Because of inadequate management, these sites have become an environmental nuisance to communities in the areas where they are located. Concerned about the environmental pollution and health risks caused by these dumpsites, people want them transferred to more suitable locations, emphasizing that their continuous operation in residential areas has become a major source of concern for them.
The stench emanating from the dumpsites is hazardous to one’s health.
House owners and tenants in impacted neighborhoods say they are now accustomed to closing their windows all day since the stench emanating from the dumpsites is hazardous to their health. This, of course, forces them to contend with unfavorable temperatures within their apartments. Commuters traveling towards Igando from Isheri are typically bombarded by a deluge of unpleasant scent from Lanre Bus Stop, where Solus One, a huge dumpsite, is located. As the journey continues, travelers are forced to breathe terrible odors emitted by a larger dumpsite and landfill Solus Three, located at Oko Filling Bus Stop.
The 100-acre dumpsite is said to be Africa’s largest and one of the world’s largest. The plant receives up to 10,000 tonnes of waste each day, and waste from approximately 500 container ships are carried there everyday, with a significant amount of it being electronic waste. The Igando Landfill, for its part, is eight hectares in size, and over a thousand scavengers “feed” on both landfills on a daily basis. However, one thing that is synonymous with the Olusosun and Igando dumpsites is the fact that inhabitants and visitors are continuously assailed by the stink they generate due to poor site management.
Some families even relocated due to smells generated from waste.
Efforts were made in the past by responsible authorities to address this threat, but little progress was accomplished. As a result, some inhabitants have abandoned their homes and migrated elsewhere, while those without alternatives and those with thick skins have remained. Michael Hogan, a former resident of Igando’s Lanre district, remarked that the poisonous smell from the dumpsite became so bad that “I had to relocate my family to a safe environment, and planning to follow them when my rent expires.” However, it has been reported that the odor from the dumpsite is getting overwhelming, and the water in the surrounding area is dangerous to drink.
While charging the administration with relocating the dumpsite, Mr. Kola Adedayo, a resident of Olusosun, stated that the dumpsite was efficiently maintained during the reign of former governor Babatunde Fashola, with chemical compounds daily sprayed to dramatically lessen the stink. Mr. Adedayo stated that relocating the two largest dumpsites away from residential areas would protect the populations from air pollution and medical difficulties such as Anosmia – the loss of one’s sense of smell, whether total or partial; diarrhea, and malaria.
Smells caused many families to visit the hospital on a regular basis.
Mrs. Omolola Alebiosu, another Olusosun neighborhood resident, stated that the toxic odour emanating from the dumpsite has forced her family to attend hospitals on a regular basis for treatment, with more than half of the family’s wages going toward treating connected illnesses. A survey conducted by a journal of Sustainable Development, titled “Impact of Sanitary Landfills on Urban Residential Property Value in Lagos State, Nigeria,” and published by the Canadian Centre of Science and Education, concluded that landfills have a negative impact on the value of residential property, despite the fact that other studies have contradicted the claim in some cases.
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