Home News Ibadan…Coping With Siege Of Dirts, Garbage (1)

Ibadan…Coping With Siege Of Dirts, Garbage (1)

The ancient city of Ibadan, Nigeria’s third-largest, of about 3.5 million people has always been challenged by waste management. GABRIEL OGUNJOBI writes
Only God knows where these refuse are coming from,” Aminat Salawu, a sweeper with Oyo State Waste Management Authority (OYWMA) hissed as she continued with her morning routine at Monatan area, sometimes in early February 2019.
The middle-aged woman from Iwo, Osun State, pointed out that waste trucks would parade later in the week to collect the refuse on medians since residents would do anything to evade paying for their wastes.
The litters were in familiar components:  sachet water nylon, food disposables, shopping bags, plastics, and others.
OYWMA regulates the activities of private refuse contractors as well as manage the municipal landfills in the state.
Apart from regulating refuse contractors’ operations,  who primarily service households, industrial and commercial areas, the body maintains a fleet of trucks to remove wastes from roadsides and highways. Hundreds of road sweepers on OYWMA’s payroll clean the expressways in Ibadan.
Two months after that conversation with Mrs. Salawu, a tricycle riding along the median of Sango-UI road rammed into an OYWMA truck and instantly, one of the passengers died. Identified as Adeniyi Balikis Olajumoke, the victim who worked with Interest Day Cooperative and Investment Limited, Polytechnic, Ibadan, was the only child of her parents.
Perhaps the young lady would still be alive if the truck did not have to collect refuse indiscriminately dumped on the roadside. Ibadan residents have the habit of dumping refuse at roadsides for the state government to handle.
Refuse find easy space in Ojoo – Moniya, Agodi Gate to Molete/Bode, Gbagi – Alakia axis, Iyana Church-Oluwo route, leading to old Ibadan Toll Gate and many other major roads in the state.
On in-routes, which OYWMA trucks do not ply, residents turn unoccupied plots to waste dumps. Some incinerate their wastes or dump them in drainage channels.
A new study stated that 41 per cent of global waste is burned openly. The research added that open burning of waste is especially associated with the emission of persistent organic pollutants. This includes polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, dioxins, and furans, all of which are carcinogenic and have been linked to a variety of other diseases. The impacts of these pollutants are especially harmful to unborn fetuses, infants and children, who come into contact with the pollutants either through their mother or through exposure to the pollutants themselves.
Victims of Flood
Fausat Olabiyi, a widow of 15 years, shared a pathetic story of the wreck flood inflicted at Agbowo area of Ibadan. “What has today become a terrible river started as tiny moving water in the gutter. If I had foreseen that any of these stories will be told today, I would have advised my husband against building here,” Mrs. Olabiyi said, adding that the river would not have caused any problem if the residents had allowed it to flow, without blocking its path with waste.
“Both commuters and commercial passengers ply this road in the night; they furtively dump their garbage and find their way,” she said.
Their 2018 experience was devastating. When this reporter visited in April 2019, three buildings had been washed away by the flood from the river. In Mrs. Olabiyi’s house, three of the rooms from their two-bedroom flat have been lost to the ravaging flood. The fence also collapsed and was just being re-erected at the time of the  visit.
Apart from being scared of the fate that awaits her this rainy season, the septuagenarian was also at the verge of losing her tenants, her only means of livelihood.
One of the tenants, Lekan Arowosafe, raised the concern of health hazards as a result of the dumping of dead animals among other offensive wastes in the river.
The community chief, otherwise called the ‘Baale, Amos Agunbiade, lamented the havoc it has wrecked on the area, especially since 2011 when a flood ran throughout the city.
“I have even been asked to sell my portion there,” said the Baale, who has moved away from the riverbank to his second house.
“But who will buy a house by the riverside?” he asked, adding: “We have written petitions to the local government council, but they keep telling us that the project is Road B works – of the state government.”
According to the community leader, who retired as a site inspector, the flood would not be as destructive if the river path was dredged. But his community cannot bear the cost, he said.
UNHCR estimated that each year, nearly 20 people are displaced every minute, about 21.5 million people a year.
Aftermath of Oyo waste management overhaul
In May 2017, the state government led by former Governor Abiola Ajimobi terminated the contracts with all the private waste contractors and asked WestAfricaENRG, a leading environmental solutions company in West Africa, to reorganise waste collection, processing and disposal in the state, particularly in Ibadan, Oyo town, Saki and Ogbomoso.
The World Bank revealed that an average of 38,250 tonnes of waste was collected per month in 2015 in Ibadan. This was about 35 per cent of waste generated on average by 3.5 million people residing in the Oyo State capital city.
WestAfricaENRG’s Chief Executive Officer, Paul O’Callaghan, told The Nationthat his company has collected an estimated 120,000 tonnes of waste monthly.
“Before 2017, Oyo State Waste Management Authority was in charge of managing the majority of the waste. Out of an average of 45,000 tonnes of waste collected in Ibadan, most of them are unpaid for, which indicates that over 450 contractors doing the minor works make the majority of the money.
“Since we got in, we have been able to institute an operational strategy which has been so far sustainable in Ibadan with only 107 contractors recruited and have significantly reduced the cost of waste management for the Oyo state government,” he said.
Of 120,000 tonnes of waste collected in Ibadan alone, only 25 per cent is recyclable. The others are non-biodegradable such as nylons and PET bottles.
Meanwhile, only 10 per cent are still being recycled for now, in spite of the cost in collection and production.
“For every 200kg of pure water nylon collected for recycling, 140kg of recycled nylon bags are produced. The total is typically more than 150,000 bags per day,” the company stated in an email it sent in response to further inquiries.
Up to 100 pieces of polythene bags make one kilogramme which is sold for N380.
If 150,000 bags are made daily, about N570,000 will be realised or N11.4 million in every 20 working days.
Despite all these, some wastes still find their way into the drains before a waste collector arrives to evacuate them.
Why roadside dumping persists
Many residents confessed that indiscriminate dumping continues because they can’t afford the cost charged. But the former government dismissed this as a mere excuse.
“They want everything free,” the immediate past Commissioner of Environment, Isaac Ishola, objected in a phone conversation with The Nation.
“PPP is the order of the day all over the world. If people can eat, then they are not too poor to pay for their waste,” he maintained.
But, Sikiru Akinola, an Ibadan-based publisher, maintained that waste collection was ‘practically cheap’ before WestAfricaENRG was invited. In his residential area at Akobo, N1,500 is charged per month. Instead of patronising the designated waste contractor, Bukol Environmental Services, some have made an illegal waste dump at the street behind General Gas station.
A part Five Law student of Obafemi Awolowo University, Toluwanimi Okunade, also disclosed that in Owode Estate, Apata, Ibadan where he lives with his parents (father, a senior civil servant and mother, a lecturer), the practice for waste disposal as at 2016 was to dump at the incinerator where the state government collects them.
“Things changed briefly in 2017 and 2018. Before then, each house began to pay a thousand naira to a private contractor, but we stopped seeing them after a while and we only dump it on an unused piece of land outside the Estate where it is usually burnt,” he added. At Iyana Church area of the city, where roadside dumping is an eyesore, N1,500 is also charged monthly.
Mr Gbenga Ayoade of Prime Plus Logistics & Engineering Services Limited, a former refuse contractor with WestAfricaENRG gave hint on the overall cost of the waste disposal in the past and after the private company commenced operation.
The government was largely responsible for waste collection and some houses who could afford to pay then had their private refuse collectors that charge between N500 and N1000. Now, the functional contractors remit 30 per cent of their revenue to WestAfricaENRG.
It is, however, based on the discretion of the contractors to charge their customers, usually between N1500 and N3000 for residential houses and N3000 and N5000 for commercial places, according to Ayoade. Companies like banks have a different agreement with their contractors and which is where the chunk of the money is realised.
But, private contractors like Ayoade terminated a contract with WestAfricaENRG on a short-term because of their inability to keep up with bank loans, owning to the overburdening remittance.
Despite the low standard of living in Ibadan, the cost of patronising government-licensed waste managers is far higher in comparison to other southwestern states. The states have a common private arrangement in waste disposal but the cost is a bit high in Oyo State even compared to Lagos.
A resident of Victoria Island, a highbrow area in Lagos State, said the cost of waste disposal is N1,000 per house, mostly duplex while a two-storey building costs N2,000.
“Waste managers usually come twice every week and we pay N1,000 per month, most times we pay upfront bi-annual or yearly,” Soji Adewale explained.
Adewale said the money is shared among the other occupants of the house with about three flats and each flat pays less than N400 per month.
For other areas in Lagos, mostly on the Island, the amount is cheaper to the eyebrow areas. A driver, who lives around Ijora Badia, a slum-like area of Lagos said the cost of disposing waste in his house with about 10 occupants is N500 per person.
“We contribute N50 or N70 at times if someone is not around. For our house, it is always N500 per month,” Wasiu Oyewole, a Danfo driver plying Ijora and CMS, said.
Just like Lagos, the cost of disposing waste to the Refuse Operator (Private Sector Partnership) is also low in Osun State. For instance, in Osogbo, waste disposal collector charges an average of N1000 per month. This is similar to what someone residing in Lagos highbrow area pays.
Mrs Victoria Awodoye, who works as a secretary at UNIOSUN and resides at Oke-Onitea area in Osogbo confirmed that her rented four-bedroom flats pay N2,000 per month, which is equivalent to N500 per flat.
With all these, it shows that the cost of patronising waste management operator in Ibadan is very high and cost residents their hard-earned money. This is seen as one of the reasons residents resulted to dumping refuse at bus stops and roadsides. This menace, in turn, ended up at canal and block drainage channels, which cause flooding.
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