OPINION: Flood gates are opened as Lagos is submerged – NAIJ.COM
Editor’s note: The reports about flood ravaging some parts of Nigeria have really been a source of concern to most Nigerians and governments, especially in the states mostly affected by the flooding. While Lagos and Niger states were greatly affected, other states had some flash of flooding.
In an article sent to NAIJ.com, Toyosi Popoola explains why government and the people should take bold step to ensure the issue of flooding is tackled with all seriousness to forestall future occurence.
The rain is here again! I say that with a lot of excitement because the rain comes along with cool winds and clouds we’ve been craving for all year to shield us from the heat of the ever blazing sun.
The air feels cleaner and dust free and we might just get to enjoy an increase in electric power supply due to the rise in water levels of our dams leading to an increase in the power generated. Makes sense right? Great but here’s the flipside to our moment of happiness – Floods, garbage and sewage filled floods.
Being one of the major coastal cities in Africa, floods due to rain has been the bane of Lagos life and nationwide generally. Each time rain falls, drainage systems overflow into the streets of Lagos leaving motorists and pedestrians alike to go through their everyday activities risking vehicle breakdowns, traffic jams, spread of epidemics and contracting water borne infections.
Pictures and videos of several parts of the Lagos metropolis hit by heavy floods are making rounds on the internet these days, especially pictures of Victoria Island and environs. One of my personal favourite is the video of a man Kayaking on Ahmadu Bello. You need to see it for yourself to believe it. But that’s the reality of our current situation.
This situation is a problem that has plagued Lagos state for as long as I can remember. So long that one would assume that surely some remedial solution should be in the execution phase by now right? Maybe there is/was but the fact remains that the problem still persists as of today.
There are 2 versions of why the problem persists, the average Lagosians’ version and the government’s version. The average person on the street will tell you how the government promises and fails on delivering infrastructural projects to improve the drainage system and allow politics and greed to get the best part of the administration.
The government on the other hand will tell you how illegal structures and lack of cooperation from the electorate impedes execution of these infrastructural projects. They would also cite climate change/global warming and poor waste disposal culture of the average Nigerian as major contributing factors to flooding across metropolis.
This is the centre of the problem. Individually our poor waste management lifestyle contributes to a large percentage of the cause which is why the effect is also on a large scale.
The simple solution is start paying attention to our lifestyle and improving how we manage our waste - Reduce the waste we generate and ensure the waste is effectively disposed. This needs to be driven as a common national purpose.
See below statistics of waste generated in different parts of Lagos provided by the Lagos State Waste Management Agency in 2014
If you pay attention, you will notice that areas with the most waste generated are areas with low to medium income earners residing there, whereas, those areas with medium to high income earners generated the lesser amount of waste. Simply put we have people that can afford less generate more waste than those that can afford to buy a lot more.
But some medium and high earners areas, get flooded you say? This is mainly due to the plan on which the area was developed. The developers paid more attention to dredging and developing more land for sale but paid very little attention to creating an effective drainage system
The solution is simple put, is a process that starts with you and I, a process that starts with changing our lifestyle and implementing progressive actions.
Actions as basic as ensuring that little piece of paper goes in a trash can, leaving that empty bottle of coke and gala wrapper in your car or bag till you get to an empty bin along the road or in your house and dispose of it, as ensuring your office/shop/restaurant/beer parlor has an empty bin sitting in the corner waiting to be filled up and taken out. The simple things.
Every household already makes it a point of duty to ensure the entire house is swept daily and the trash is taken out. This is the same concept we need to propagate to our streets/estates/communities/LGAs.
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The same concept we need to propagate not just within our places of living but also places of being. The impacts of these actions are long term, we may not see the result in our generation but our children or grandchildren will, if only we start now.
Establishing a common national purpose starts with the first step individually. The government has a big part to play by ensuring the wastes we generate are effectively managed on a large scale but let’s not put the proverbial cart before the horse. Let’s start the change with us first and let them know we really do mean business.
NAIJ.com had previously reported that a heavy rain that lasted more than 12 hours led to the death of no less than 20 people in Suleja, a town near Abuja, on Sunday, July 9.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial policy of NAIJ.com.
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