Sitting on a massive 100-acre landfill, the site which has been rated as the largest in Africa and one of the largest in the world receives up to 10,000 tons of refuse daily. It has also been revealed that waste from something close to 500 container ships is diverted to the site on a daily basis.
He is not the only person who runs this type of business from Olusosun dirt yard. Hundreds, if not thousands of scavengers rely on Olusosun for their daily manna. Two women were also seen in search of items, especially those they could sell directly. Although, they didn’t disclose their names, they said they had come to pick used clothes immediately the trucks offload the wastes. A further chat with them revealed that they had informants who tell them about the kind of wastes on ground, some people on the site even have them sorted, only for them to pick up the ones they need.
that “leachates in the groundwater is bound to occur in such environ. What we have in our cities are not dumpsites, they are just holes where
refuse are dumped.
Uloma Okoro, an environmental advocate said scavengers shouldn’t even be allowed on the site, as Government owned agencies should be fully in charge of such activities.
“To the best of my knowledge the activities of the scavengers are illegal, and it needs to be curtailed. You don’t even know where they are taking the wastes gotten from the site to, they don’t even know the conditions of the items. The fact that they don’t even use protective poses a big threat to their health.
“LAWMA, the agency in charge of waste has more work to be done in this regard,” she said.
Dr Odubanjo, a public health expert also shares the same view “When wastes degrade, gasses are emitted, as a result of bacteria that are degenerating which emit heat and this in turn produce offensive odour”
Studies have also revealed that about 20% of scavengers who work on the site have hepatitis B. Dr Odubanjo also confirms this. “People excrete viruses and theses scavengers are exposed to it. They are exposed to several harmful stuffs including blood products, and medical wastes. Something can prick them and they wouldn’t even know what it is, and where it is coming from,” he said.
He added that the health hazard isn’t limited to the scavengers who have direct activities on the site alone, but they could also be carriers of diseases which they could spread to others in their environment.
“Some of the scavengers can contact diseases and transmit it to people living in the environment. Those living in the environment inhale these gases and because the odour is offensive, many of them are left with no option but to close their windows cutting off ventilation which in turn endangers their lives. Don’t even forget that some of these scavengers in crowded rooms, making it easy for them to spread diseases.”
It was therefore recommended that the Lagos State Government of Nigeria should urgently provide an alternative source of water supply towards meeting the immediate water needs of inhabitants of the area, while adopting a pragmatic approach to remediate the problem. This will go a long way in reducing the prevalence of waterborne diseases around Olusosun dumpsite
For residents of that axis, Olusosun has become a necessary evil that they have to live with, as they cannot move their offices from the place. Officials of LAGBUS who share the same fence as Olusosun have been forced to live with the smell.
Olusosun, a place where government intended to keep dirt away from the streets and people has become a menace. With urbanisation and the fast pace of development in the state, Olusosun which was once at the outskirt of Lagos skirt has gradually moved its way into heart of Lagos, this shows that the site has long outlived its purpose.
Odubanjo advised the state government to explore other alternatives to disposing waste, for instance incinerating the wastes.
“There should be more awareness as regards wastes disposal and on how people can recycle wastes. If you check some containers, you will see that some can be recycled.
“These wastes can be used for more beneficial purposes. Government should think beyond waste, they should think energy. ”