A glimpse into how Osun has been able to maintain a clean profile on environmental sanitation for seven years has shown that prior to the establishment of Osun Waste Management Agency (OWMA), the state was almost becoming the ‘filth capital’ of Nigeria with citizens dumping wastes indiscriminately.
In an encounter with OSUN DEFENDER’s FRANCIS EZEDIUNO, the General Manager of the agency, Ganiyu Oyeladun revealed why this had been so before the advent of the Aregbesola administration and why the story has changed in the last seven years.
OSDF: How was it like before the establishment of OWMA in Osun?
Oyeladun: At the inception of this state, the Osun State Environmental Protection Agency (OSEPA), was saddled with the responsibilities of waste management, sanitation, flood and erosion control as well as other environmental protection activities. But the agency had limited numbers of professionals and equipments, it has only three units of refuse trucks to cover the whole state.
There was also uncontrolled open dumping of wastes at the Onibueja Central Dumpsite due to the lack of a perimeter fence. There was also no dumpsite in many of the local government areas, there was inadequate provision of logistics for monitoring and enforcement, mobilisation for public awareness campaign. Also, there is minimal revenue generation from waste management and weak political will on the implementation of waste management and sanitation policies.
As a result of these deficiencies on the part of OSEPA, heaps of refuse was a common scene in the drains, waterways, streets and on major roads across the state.
Osdf: How has the OWMA become an intervention?
Oyeladun: OWMA as an agency took over from the defunct OSEPA, with the huge task of redefining waste management and sanitation in all ramifications. The operation of the Agency was however backed up with adequate political will and support.
By the grace of God and the hardwork, support and co-operation of the state government, when we came on board, we had to press Mr. Governor to declare a 90 day state of emergency on sanitation and zero tolerance for filth.
We also spearheaded the introduction and sustenance of bi-monthly environmental sanitation activities throughout the state which is still ongoing.
We introduced and sustained environmental sanitation of market and workplace every Thursday of the week, acquisition and maintenance of 31 refuse vehicles, purchase of 61 refuse vans for PSP operations, regular maintenance of the central dumpsites at Onibueja in Osogbo among others.
On the development of the central dumpsite, we have built perimeter fencing with 2 gates, dug and installed borehole for the dumpsites with solar lights done. Apart from the central dumpsite in Osogbo, OWMA had established dumpsites in almost all the local government areas in the state.
The acquisition and installation of waste nylon recycling machine in Osun is another new innovation which we introduced as a means of recycling wastes.
Within the period under review, we have ensured direct involvement of all identified stakeholders on waste management and sanitation, including setting up of technical committee in all the local government areas in the state.
Besides all these, some other achievement of our agency include encouragement of waste/refuse conversion through the concepts of nylon buy-back, Biogas (O’ Clean gas), reduction in illegal dumpsites across the state, reduction in sanitation related diseases, refurbishment of three old refuse trucks, purchase of monitoring and enforcement vehicles, improvement of drainage/erosion control, dredging of water ways and high way management, purchase of septic tank emptier, recruitment and training of 56 truck operators (including 10 OYES Cadets) at the Lagos Drivers Institute (LASDRI) and Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA).
Osdf: What are the challenges your agency is confronted with?
Oyeladun: We are facing inadequate staffing especially for professionals, inadequate co-operation from members of the public, adequate equipments and materials for waste management at the dumpsite which include bulldozers, excavators, graders and rollers, inadequate land for truck parking and mechanic workshop, and inadequate office accommodation for staffs. So, there is need to update the enabling laws and regulations, while we also need training and retraining of our professional.
Osdf: What are your targets for the future?
Oyeladun: We want to stop and discourage placement of wastes on the highways and road median, ensure construction and development of sanitary landfill, distribution of branded household dustbins to offices and shops, expansion of Private Sector Participation (PSP) through the engagement and empowerment of more youths in waste management, commencement of work on buy-back of waste plastics and nylons, commencement of work on waste recycling and Waste to Energy, review of enabling laws and regulations. We are also focusing on reviewing the enforcement structure and operation, work on introduction of special Court for sanitation offenders/defaulters, and striving to improve revenue from waste management and many more.