The high cost of diesel in Lagos has forced Private Sector Participators (PSPs) in waste management to increase the cost of waste bills, causing concern for the living expenses of Nigerians.
The average increase in waste bills of about 50 percent in the Lagos metropolitan area is making it difficult for households to balance their budgets while managing their waste. Consequently, some households and traders are burning their waste or discarding it in gutters, canals, and roadsides, leading to environmental degradation and health concerns.
The impending rainy season will see a significant impact of the increased practice of discarding waste in these areas due to the obstruction of the natural flow of water, which increases the likelihood of flooding, especially in low-lying areas.
Godswill Agodichi, a supervisor from Continental Waste Management, Lagos, told News reporters that due to economic hardship, some residents in densely populated areas like Sari Iganmu, Ajegunle, and other slums in Lagos prefer to throw their waste in drainages and roadside than pay PSP operators for collection.
Olubunmi Ogunsanya, a resident of Ogolonto, Ikorodu, Lagos, told our correspondents that the price of waste bills in her area has increased by 100 percent.
“Some months ago, we used to pay N500 for our waste bill. However, it increased to N700, then N1,000. The increase might look small, but it negatively affects my budget during this strenuous economic situation,” Ogunsanya said.
“Whether your waste bin is filled to the brim or not, you will still have to pay the N1,000 bill.”
According to Ogunsanya, despite the increase in waste bills, PSP waste operators have reduced the number of times they collect waste.
“We were told they will come four times a month, that’s once every week. However, it’s now twice a month. There was a time it was so bad they did not come for a month,” she said.
Ogunsanya said that when the waste management did not come for a month, she had to improvise by burning the waste outside the compound. She had to separate the bottles and other things so they would burn easily.
Last year, the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) had announced its plan to shut down Ladipo and Oyingbo markets for reckless waste dumping and poor waste management situations. The waste bill’s increase was due to the high cost of diesel, making it challenging for PSPs to operate. Some PSPs have been forced to reduce their collections, leading to non-payment by customers. Despite the need to improve waste management, PSPs face various challenges, including scarcity of foreign exchange, logistics costs, and reduced enforcement by governmental agencies.
The Lagos state government has planned to launch new legislation to curb the waste menace in the state and support businesses in the circular economy.