The Honourable Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello has declared that the Lagos State Government reinvigorated the environmental sector in the last one year, with special focus on restoring the mandate of its agencies and making the State cleaner.
Bello made this assertion during the Year 2020 Ministerial Press Briefing organised as part of activities to commemorate the first year in office of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu at the JJT Park, Alausa, on Wednesday.
He asserted that the Environment Ministry has also in the last one year improved the drainage network in the State to facilitate the free flow of water through proper channels, adding that all the drainage channels are being touched in a continuous cleaning and maintenance exercise.
The Commissioner said that while some of the drainage channels have already been cleaned up, they are being revisited on a regular basis for maintenance to prevent a return to the previous terrible state, expressing the commitment of the State Government to fostering a clean, healthy and sustainable environment for the well-being of the citizenry, through the application of best practices in environmental management.
Disclosing that one of the first steps taken towards achieving success was the rejuvenation of the Lagos State Waste Management Authority, LAWMA, which is now at the forefront of waste collection, Bello noted that the State is currently witnessing a cleaner environment as a result of the strategies put in place to stabilise waste collection activities on public highways in Ikeja, Agege Alimosho, Iba, Otto-Awori and Badagry Expressway, among others.
He revealed that the Government, through LAWMA, has been monitoring the activities of accredited Private Sector Participants, (PSP), with a view to assessing their level of service delivery and addressing all challenges promptly, adding that the PSP operators are being empowered and encouraged to acquire new equipment.
Bello reiterated that in order to promote extraction of resources and use of recycling to conserve natural resources, government introduced the Blue Box waste sorting programme to encourage the sorting of wastes at source and creating avenues for people to generate revenue from their waste.
He disclosed that the State Government has decided to rebrand and reposition the Lagos Environmental Sanitation Corps (LAGESC) and revert to the name: Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI).
In his words: “The operatives will now adorn the green uniform which symbolises the environment unlike the previous peach coloured uniform and will stick to their primary role of ensuring that people obey all sanitation laws”.
He revealed that the organisation has also expanded its operational divisions to 21 from 10 for efficiency, in realisation of the fact that the State requires more attention for sustainable development in the face of incessant floods.
Speaking on the activities of LASPARK, the Commissioner revealed that the State government has, through the Agency, embarked on an aggressive tree-planting campaign to mitigate the effect of climate change, adding that the total stock of trees planted has risen to 7,411,584 out of the 10 million targeted by the end of year 2020.
He added that the present administration has also created more parks with the commissioning of the Dr. Abayomi Finnih Recreational Park at Oregun, Ikeja, and the re-modelling and upgrading of the Garden at Ebute-Ipakodo, Ikorodu into a Recreational Park for public use.
Maintaining that the government is committed to bringing back the beauty of the blighted area in Outer Marina, Bello said that a beautification project has commenced from Apongbon to State House, Marina, in addition to the landscaping and beautification of Apapa-Oshodi Road setback at Afolabi Lesi Street, Ilupeju.
He averred that in reaction to the complaints from the citizens on noise pollution in the State, the government, through LASEPA, has successfully reduced noise pollution in religious houses, clubs and events centres, noting further that while LASEPA monitors noise level at religious houses and clubs, the government has also assisted in curtailing the excesses of patrons of organisations who are in the habit of blocking roads and causing traffic congestion.
“As part of efforts towards curbing the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, LASEPA has also conducted Air Quality Assessment of Lagos Environment during COVID-19 lockdown, in partnership with the Nigeria Environmental Society (NES), to generate data on the Air Quality of Lagos in relation to the pandemic as a basis for possible policy formulations during post-COVID-19 era”, Bello said.
“The agency was also at the forefront of testing chemicals and concentrates used in disinfecting major bus stops, motor parks and garages during the lockdown”, he added.
The Commissioner said the Ministry has also carried out a major clean-up exercise of Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Obalende axis of the State, in an effort to restore the lost glory of the vicinity which came about as a result of the gross environmental degradation and wanton disregard for physical planning regulations.
Also present at the briefing were the Special Adviser on Drainages, Engr. Joe Igbokwe; Permanent Secretary, Office of Environment Services, Mrs. Aderonke Odeneye and Permanent Secretary, Office of Drainage Services, Engr Lekan Shodeinde among several other dignitaries.