Waste collectors around Lagos are feeling squeezed by the rising cost of diesel, which is forcing many of them to abandon operations, BusinessDay has learnt.
Apart from diesel, operators say they have to deal with the rising cost of hydraulics, gear, and engine oil, forcing some Private Sector Participators (PSPs) to begin to prioritise areas where collections can be guaranteed.
The effect of this beginning to be felt in parts of Lagos where refuse has begun to gather along roadways, some slipping into drainages with the potential to increase the pains from incessant rainfalls. The popular Olusosun dump site is overflowing with refuse.
Godswill Agodichi, a supervisor from Continental Waste Management, said the minimum amount spent on diesel daily for three trucks cost N100,000 to Olusosun.
He said, “Apart from the direct impact of spending more money (four times) to buy an equivalent volume of diesel which increased from (N240 to N800) per litre; engine oil, (N25,000 to N40,000) per 25 litres; container hydraulic, (N16,000 to N38,000) for a two-litre container.
“The other major impact on the PSP in relation to service to clients is the issue of lack of efficiency and sustainability arising from the increased cost of service.”
Some PSP operators have to go as far as Epe and Ikorodu to dump refuse collected within the Lagos metropolis. A waste truck operating in Apapa, for instance, will need diesel up to N50,000 to make a 33.5-kilometre (km) drive to the Ikorodu dump site after work.
In addition, a trip to Epe dumpsite from Apapa is 134.0km, which takes two hours and costs over N60,000 to diesel.
Waste management in Lagos involves about 80 percent of transportation using diesel engine trucks, and attempts to raise waste bills have met with stiff opposition.
The Lagos State government has begun to provide assistance to some operators due to the inability of their clients to pay for waste disposal.
Since February this year, the cost of diesel has risen to over 200 percent, due to global market price, foreign exchange, and Nigeria’s inability to refine crude oil internally.
Diesel prices, which are deregulated in Nigeria, have jumped from about N288 per litre in January to over N774 by the end of July 2022
Olubunmi Ogunsanya, a resident of Majidun, Ogolonto, Ikorodu, who pays her waste bill frequently said unserved areas are filled with dirt, as waste compactors attend to people that pay bills frequently.
She said, “Residents in my area throw their dirty into portholes, and drainages, while some burn the waste when it has piled up.”
“Some people pretend to be passing by and then throw their refuse into the waste truck,” she said.
Damilola Omoboye, a resident of Festac extension said she has not seen a waste truck in her area since late July 2022.
She said, “Most of the waste is thrown into the gutters, however, some residents utilise cart pushers to clear their waste.”
Last week, Ibrahim Odunmboni, CEO of LAWMA said the government would support waste management through the creation of Transfer Loading Stations in all the local government areas of the state in response to the rising cost of operations.
There are about 1,000 PSP trucks in Lagos and LAWMA has over 150 supporting trucks.
“Through the support of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, we will be having additional subsidy for PSP operators in areas where we have such challenges,” Odunmboni said.
He further said that the agency planned to set up 30 recycling centres across the state, by the end of the year, to boost the Lagos recycling initiative, which apart from its economic benefits, would mitigate the challenge of plastic pollution.