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How Oyo Government is Creating a New Path for Sustainable Waste Management — Commissioner for Environment

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The Oyo State Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Mr Abiodun Oni, has revealed plans made by the Governor Makinde-led administration, to tap into the riches of waste management for the benefit of the pacesetters state.

Ibadan has always had a perennial waste problem. But with an over 3% population rise year on year, the solid waste management problem in the city has been further compounded.

It will be recalled in February 2020, Governor ‘Seyi Makinde launched the Clean and Green Initiative which in its first phase saw the turnaround of the Awotan Dumpsite into the Awotan Landfill. The plan was to introduce an era in which recycling would play a huge role in the management efforts.

Admittedly, the plans put in place suffered some hiccups. Top among which was the death of the visioner, Hon Kehinde Agboola, the then Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources.

Meanwhile, the incumbent commissioner has disclosed that plans are back on course to make the vision accomplished.

According to Mr Oni, this decision was reached after careful consideration of the available data.

“It was clear we had to bring in people that could invest in this sector. The state just could not continue bearing the burden. On the average, Ibadan was producing waste at the rate of 120,000 MT per month and this required huge resources to manage as most individuals had resorted to dumping refuse in the road medians mostly because the waste disposal trucks were not making regular rounds”, the commissioner stated.

Report has it that the state government put the solid waste management system into the hands of consultants – Mottainai Recycling and Waste Management last week, after terminating the appointment of an ineffective one.

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According to Mr Adey Adewuyi, the CEO of Mottainai Recycling and Waste Management, “We are going to start with ensuring that the medians are refuse free, while simultaneously increasing the rotation of waste pickup in the residential areas. With this double-pronged approach, the plan is to achieve some stability in three to six months.

“This stability cannot be achieved without the cooperation of the people and enforcement of environmental laws”, he added.

After sensitisation of the people, the Commissioner said it is time to actively wield the big stick. “Our people cannot continue with business as usual. We cannot continue to condone indiscriminate dumping of refuse,” he said.

In an informal survey conducted by the Oyo State Government Feedback account on Twitter in February 2022, 90% of respondents said there should be stricter laws against indiscriminate dumping of refuse on roads and medians in Oyo State.

One of the first areas to get sanctioned is Bodija Market. A place that has become notorious for not following environmental laws. The market is to remain closed until the market conforms to environmental laws. Mr Oni said there would be more of such enforcements to ensure that the state remains clean.

In a recent development, with the engagement of Mottainai Recycling and Waste Management, the Oyo State Government terminated the appointments of Private Sector Participants (PSPs) waste collectors in the state and set June 10, 2022, as the deadline for the reapplication for the renewal of contracts. This has not gone down well with the PSPs who have staged a protest, claiming that the state is making a decision that would render two million persons jobless.

However, in response the commissioner said: “This is not the case. We are definitely not disengaging anyone with a capacity to perform. What the state is requesting is that they reapply with proof of capacity. Once they show that they can carry out their responsibilities, they will be reabsorbed into the system.”

In the meantime, Mr Oni has clarified that one of the problems bedeviling the system had to do with contractors who claimed they could deliver on paper but could not do so in practice.

“We have to weed the chaff from the wheat,” he firmly stated.

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