By Adeola Ogunrinde
The Lagos state government, on monday sealed Oke-Afa Market in Isolo and Katangua Market, for violating waste disposal regulations.
Speaking on the development, Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tokunbo Wahab, noted that the government’s zero tolerance for waste initiative was still on course, stressing that any market or facility engaging in reckless waste disposal would be sanctioned.
He said: “The government has not jettisoned it’s zero tolerance for waste initiative which we have been pursuing since last year. The only way for markets and traders, is to engage in decent and civilised waste disposal practices as outlined by the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA). Any market or facility that runs foul of this arrangement will face sanctions”.
Wahab assured residents that the markets would remain sealed until stringent hygiene and waste disposal measures were implemented and maintained, adding that the government was totally committed to ensuring cleanliness in all parts of the metropolis.
“The health and well-being of our residents are paramount. We cannot allow a few to endanger the health of many through irresponsible environmental practices. The sealing of these markets is a necessary step to compel compliance and safeguard public health”, he said.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director/CEO of LAWMA, Dr. Muyiwa Gbadegesin, urged various market executives to always mobilise their members to abide by waste management regulations.
Gbadegesin added “The rules of engagement are simple enough and the markets are all familiar with them: Do not dispose of waste recklessly; use the dino bins; shun waste disposal on road median around markets; deploy waste policing to prevent and apprehend outsiders messing up your markets and pay your waste bills promptly. It is as simple as that”.
He warned that the zero tolerance initiative would be pursued more vigorously in 2024, adding that markets that refuse to embrace basic and decent waste disposal practices would not escape sanctions.
Gbadegesin further appealed to market executives to work harder on mobilising their members to do what is right to preserve the environment for the good of everyone.
The LAWMA boss reiterated the agency’s commitment to ensuring cleaner and healthier environment, stressing that cooperation from all stakeholders, including market operators and traders, was crucial.
“LAWMA deploys resources daily to clear waste from markets across the state. However, our efforts are often hampered by poor waste management practices within the markets themselves. We urge traders and market authorities to adopt responsible waste disposal habits and work with LAWMA to maintain clean and healthy environments”, he stated.