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Investigations

INVESTIGATION: Dumpsite Gradually Takes Over Community in Lagos [Update]

Residents and businesses in Lanre Estate are pulling out of the community as they are disturbed by the pungent smell generating from a major dumpsite close to the estate. 

The community, which has suffered this challenge for years, had witnessed several setbacks in developments as the dumpsite is gradually taking over land, businesses, houses and institutes in its recent expansion. 

Lanre Estate is located along the Isheri-Igando road, under the Alimosho local government Lagos State. It is approximately a five-minute drive from the Alimosho General Hospital. 

Before the expansion of the dumpsite, the community played host to several private businesses including the Rosella’s Entertainment Park and a station for the Lagos State Ministry of Special Duties Jobs Opportunity Center, Igando branch. 

Following a careful investigation into the environment, the expansion of the dumpsite had sent Rosella’s Park and the state’s job opportunity centre packing, turning their buildings into shelter for dumpsite workers and business transactors.

It was also revealed that some houses close to the dumpsite have been abandoned by their owners and they are now used for relaxation and storage homes for workers on the site. Other buildings including Leto Ventures filling station and Top Eminence Nursery and Primary School have been abandoned by their owners. 

INSIDE THE DUMPSITE 

The dumpsite can be seen while travelling on the road. Its extension covers three major bus-stop points along the axis; Lanre, Okofilling and Hotel road. Between these roads are waste disposal trucks occupying a long lane. On weekdays, the trucks go in and out of the dumpsite, disposing of waste while weekends are for relaxation and businesses transactions. 

On a tour of the dumpsite, several activities and businesses are engaged by workers, of different cultures, to make ends meet. The workers are divided into two sections; those who pick up plastics, bottles, papers and those who handle the financial section.

For business, it is a routine for workers to amass plastics and bottles to sell to recyclers. This transaction is made at different prices depending on how much plastic is gathered. Sales are made inside the dumpsite, which is a 480 to 500 feet walk from the major road. Negotiations are done under a small tent constructed inside abandoned buildings or in a dirty environment with the pigs and birds. 

Workers fondly inscribe names and colourful designs on their trucks for proper identification. For relaxation, workers mostly sleep, play music or form small groups to play games, smoke and make funny conversations. Children would run to catch themselves or play the hide and seek game.

On the other part of the road is a minor dump site beside New Igando community. Its model for business is also similar to the major dump site but has a signpost of occupancy by the Lagos State Ministry of Waste Management.

In an interview with the acting chairman of Onabanjo Association, Okweku Ogedegbe Samuel, he said efforts have been made over the years to control the activities of the dumpsite and its workers but it has yielded no result. 

“We have been meeting with journalists and other stations. The dump that LAWMA poured on the road, we don’t know about it. Since we came in,  the association have been fighting and they have been promising us; give us two weeks, three weeks and so many months have passed. The last promise they made was to clear the road but till they haven’t done anything. 

“This axis cause traffic from Igando every time.  Most tenants and businesses have moved out. What we expect LAWMA to do is to pull the dirt down and level it, pour laterite like Isolo and others, but because of the money they make, they won’t. I was told that a pathway has been created inside the dump for movement.

“From last year back we weren’t perceiving the odour but since they put the road in the centre of the dump, they are now shifting towards us, that’s pushing it back to us. During working days, you can’t stand here. Water has been contaminated, tenants and landlords are moving away from their houses. Tell anyone you have a vacant house for rent, once they know it’s the close to the dump they are not interested.”

Two years ago, unfortunately, businesses began to relocate away from the area because of the pungent odour that had settled in the environment. Residents note that they have made several complaints to the Ministry of Environment and have received promises made by the ministry to relocate the dumpsite. 

However, the recent expansion of the site is causing a landslide at the bank in the area, which in turn affects neighbouring streets. Houses located at the bank of the site have put up blocks and fences in an attempt to protect themselves from the landslide and prevent being overrun by garbage. 

In spite of the numerous environmental and health hazards caused by the dumpsite, residents are hopeful that the incumbent governor will place proactive measures to control activities on the site.

Update:

This story has been updated to remove the West Africa Energy (WestAfricaENRG) Environmental Services company name due to a lack of clarity on their involvement in this article. The company’s recycling office is located close to the dumpsite but this, in no way, means that the company is involved in the dumpsite’s activities or is responsible for its existence.

CAMPUS REPORTER regrets any inconvenience caused.

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