A Dutch firm will soon begin collaboration with the Lagos State government to harness the waste generated in Nigeria’s biggest city, says Olumuyiwa Adejokun, the chief executive officer of the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA).

The administration of Govenor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has invited a company from the Netherlands whose speciality is converting waste to wealth to create jobs for both the old and young, says Adejokun.

“We are expecting them anytime from now to come and collaborate with us on the project,” said Adejokun, who took over at the helm of LAWMA earlier this year. Adejokun said the project with the Dutch firm would be a public-private initiative.

“It is a veritable option to adopt in recycling our waste which we generate daily in thousands of tons,” said Adejokun, who added that the state-owned enterprise would not recycle waste, but would encourage recyclers as private initiatives.

“It is not for LAWMA to recycle waste, but to encourage recyclers; for example, we have WeeCyclers, owned by the Abiolas.”

LAWMA was inaugurated following the industrialisation and urbanisation of Lagos with the resultant high volume of waste which became an intractable problem for local councils in the state to manage.

Lagos was branded the “dirtiest” capital in 1977 when Nigeria hosted “FESTAC ’77”, and consequently in April 1977, the first waste management outfit in West Africa was inaugurated known as Lagos State Refuse Disposal Board (LSRDB) under Edict 9 of 1977, with Powell Duffen Pollution Control Consultants of Canada as managers.

In 1981, its name was changed to Lagos State Waste Disposal Board (LSWDB) because of the added responsibilities for industrial-commercial waste collection and disposal, drain clearing and disposal of derelict/scrapped vehicles.

In 1991, the board was re-christened LAWMA via Edict No. 55 with the mandate of collecting and disposing municipal and industrial waste as well as providing commercial waste services to state and local councils in the state.