An environmentalist, Mr Gafar Odubote, has called on the Lagos State Government to invest more in waste management infrastructure and sensitisation.
Odubote, a fellow at Let’s Do It Nigeria, an environmental NGO, made this call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Lagos.
He said that it was pertinent that the incoming government took environmental issues seriously with more investments in infrastructure and sensitisation.
“Government should invest more in waste management infrastructure in the state; the population of the state is growing every day.
“The waste management infrastructure that should be put on ground needs to match the needs of the growing population in the state.
“We want a change in the state’s environment, as we hope that the incoming government will pay more attention to environmental issues.
“Government at all levels need to invest in sensitising Nigerians on the importance of a sustainable environment.
“This sensitisation can be via the mass media, TV and radio, to reach Nigerians at the grassroots level.
“People need to be educated on the implications of not keeping their environment clean or not clearing their drainages.
“They should be made to be aware that the state of their environment will result in the absence or prevalence of diseases such as malaria, cholera, typhoid fever, among other,’’ he said.
Odubote called on the local governments to step up on their responsibilities in ensuring that the grassroots were made aware of the importance of a clean environment.
“The local government sanitation body should step up on its responsibility of monitoring and ensuring a healthy environment because they have not really been doing their work.
“This awareness needs to start from the local governments because they are closer to the people, hence they need to go out and embark on a door-to-door sensitisation.
“The local governments also need to be adequately empowered to be actively involved in the state’s waste management plans.
“Apart from the sensitisation, penalties must be put in place against defaulters because Nigerians are very adamant in adhering to laid down laws and principles.
“Once the environment around your household is dirty and the drainage blocked, this should attract penalties from the local government sanitation body,” Odubote said.
The expert called for the imposition of fines and penalties as disciplinary actions against environmental defaulters.
“If the state government can spend money to apprehend drivers plying the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lane, they should spend more in apprehending environmental defaulters.
“Individuals dumping refuse at our bus-stops; highways and streets should also be apprehended and sanctioned by the appropriate authorities.
“With these sanctions in place, Nigerians’ attitude towards waste management will change for the better.
“Nigerians have this tendency of being trash-blind; they do not really see littering the environment as a big deal or something to worry over.
“Even if the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) provides waste bins at every nook and cranny of the city, you will still see some people litter trash not far from the refuse bins.
“It is really embarrassing driving through a mega-city like Lagos and seeing heaps of trash littered across the state,” the environment expert said.
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