27th February, 2012
As the rains are being expected, the Lagos State Government and communities in the state’s Central Senatorial District have met and discussed ways to check flood in the area.
Community leaders such as Community Development Association, CDA, and Taxi Drivers Association, among others, held a Town Hall meeting in Surulere last week to map out strategise to check the perennial flooding in the area.
The community leaders enjoined residents not to dump refuse in drainage channels and to always bear in mind that their activities would surely impact on the environment.
The Commissioner for the Environment, Mr Tunji Bello, who was also at the event, called on Lagosians to prepare for more violent storms and heavy rainfall this year.
According to him, “the rain this year is going to be very heavy. It will come with a lot of wind and storms. We will let you know if we are going to have storm. No country is flood-free but we can minimise the impact if we do our own parts, we must work together.”
Bello said Lagos is one of the most vulnerable states in the country when it comes to flood as the state is located below sea level, adding that water from Ogun and Osun Rivers empty into the Lagos Lagoon where it goes to the Atlantic Ocean.
“Presently, the ocean worldwide has risen. In Lagos, the water from the Lagoon goes into the Atlantic Ocean. Once the Atlantic Ocean is full, the water from the Lagos Lagoon cannot get into it; that is what normally leads to flooding.
“We can minimise the impact of the flood if we clean our environment and stop dumping refuse into drains. Since January, we have started cleaning the drains. We are prepared for the rains,” he said.
The commissioner warned taxi drivers, market men and women to stop dumping waste into drainage channels as the act leads to flood, saying that any market found to be dirty would be shut down and would not be opened until after three months.
He told the gathering that the climatic condition worldwide had changed as rain could fall at anytime irrespective of the season of the year.
Speaking at the event, Governor Babatunde Fashola lamented the flagrant abuse of environmental standards and laws, saying that it is disheartening that some people still engage in indiscriminate dumping of refuse, open defecation and urination, street trading and siting of mechanic workshops, among others on drainage alignments, road setbacks and verges.
“Lagos presently has a population of 18 million people and it is still increasing, and the implication of that on our environment is increased tons of generated waste. If this trend of environmental abuse, especially indiscriminate waste disposal, persists unchecked, it may spell more doom than what we are experiencing now in terms of flooding.
“Each time a shop is open or a firm commences business, there is a significant increase in the tons of wastes generated. As much as it is understood that people must do business to survive, it is required that businesses should be conducted in a way that sufficient consideration is given to the environment and most importantly, to waste generation and disposal,” he said.
Fashola, whose speech was read by the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Oluranti Adebule, said: “This untoward behaviour must be stopped if we must sustain our present status and position among the leading cities of the world.