Lagos state is regarded as a leading state in Nigeria in term of good governance and infrastructural development. Lagos constant claims of being a smart city is becoming a cliche. This is so because there is no place on earth where smart city (in)advertently and systematically poisons and kills a section of its populace with air pollution and expects to have a healthy working force.
A choice of a landfill/incinerator within the Ojota/Olusosun axis needs urgent consideration if the State must ensure hundreds of thousands living or working around the area do not become walking corpses. The air pollution caused by burning in the Olusosun landfill/incinerator therefore must receive urgent attention now.
Burning garbage or domestic waste in the area is causing smoke which leads to air pollution. In the process life is being made unbearable for those living, working or have something to do in the area for an hour or so.The current practice of Lagos Waste Management Authority is to burn the waste collected at this site during evenings. A time when many are already returning to their homes located within the area. Beside, because the landfill is surrounded by many manufacturing companies which operate 24 hours a day makes the burning exercise a risk to others who are engaged in their daily productive activities.
The air pollution these people are exposed to during these burning exercises is proven to be stigering chances of several health hazards not limited to birth defects and birth weight. Also many people living close to the landfill site do suffer from short breath, sleeplessness, headache and fatigue. Other known fact is that Landfill burning releases toxic gas with higher capacity to cause water pollution. Such gases had been associated with lung and heart diseases.Two weeks ago, I had a cause to take my little niece who is suffering from short breath symptoms to see a client in the area. The effect of the air pollution almost led to loss of life.
A high performing government like Lagos State should know facts are out there which support garbage or human waste burning pollute our air and is dangerous to human health. The smoke usually remains in our breathing space for a long while. Being one of the lethal destroyer of human lungs, the pollution caused by garbage burning has acid-gas capable of doing a prolong damage.
Beyond human health hazard, the strategic location of Olusosun landfill/incineration beside a major high way leading to the state can also affect its tourism drive.
If Lagos must retain the landfill site in the current location, experts had suggested the reconstruction of landfills which are well-engineered. These modern landfills come with facilities which can reduce to the bearest minimum, if not eliminate, the level of impacts the burning can have on air and water pollutions. To add to this, the modern well-engineered landfills guarantee the environment is adequately protected.
But in the interim, some devices called particulate-control device, such as wet scrubbers, with capacity to minimize smoke emission and acid-gas release can be purchased for use. Though we may want to suggest good investment in modern device with higher capacity for handling the challenges may pay higher dividend at the long run. But in a situation where the fund is not there we can start from somewhere.
On the other alternative, there can be a relocation of the Olusosun landfill to less environmental- sensitive areas where it dangers to human health will be lesser. A better solution by Minnesota State Health and safety society had revealed that 72% of the current landfill waste as we have in Olososun contain material that could be recycled or decomposed and put into better use. We must not forget pollution is a major issue In the present Sustainable Development Goals as it has capacity to provoke and increase climate related disasters. A smart city is not in the name. Being smart city caries its own weight. So let Lagos State take a lead in this too.