Lagos Environment Stinks – ACRC Research Report
By Femi Akinola
The African Cities Research Consortium (ACRC) has delivered a stark assessment of Lagos’ environmental conditions, revealing pervasive challenges across the city’s 20 Local Government Areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas.
The findings, presented in a research report titled “Lagos City of Systems: Food Security, Health and Safety, Environmental Sustainability,” highlight critical issues hindering a conducive environment in the state.
Professor Taibat Lawanson, City Lead of the Consortium and a key figure in the Urban Development and Governance department at the University of Lagos (Unilag), shared key insights and recommendations during the 2023 edition of the annual education summit organized by the Education Writers’ Association (EWAN).
The research, spanning 12 African cities, including Lagos, Maiduguri, Accra, Addis Ababa, Kampala, Dar es Salaam, Freetown, Mogadishu, Nairobi, Lilongwe, and Bukavu, aims to foster a shared understanding of the political economy of African cities.
Professor Lawanson emphasized that the project identifies and addresses critical challenges faced by these cities through action research and advocacy over a five-year period.
Key areas of interest in Lagos include structural transformation, safety and security, neighborhood and economic district development, and housing.
These align with the Lagos State Economic Development Plan (2031-2052) and the THEMES plus agenda of the Lagos State Government.
Emerging findings in the research report cover nine city systems and four domains, focusing on healthcare, transportation, water and sanitation, waste management, food distribution, energy, finance, law and order, ICT, and education.
The report highlighted that 50% of waste generated in Lagos is food waste, emphasizing the need to mainstream informal waste workers to address waste management concerns.
The researchers also pointed out deficiencies in sanitation, noting the absence of open-defecation-free areas and inadequate operational procedures for sanitation workers.
Regarding water scarcity, despite Lagos being blessed with bodies of water, the research revealed that only 40% of the daily demand of 3.83 billion liters is provided by the Lagos State Water Corporation.
Informal water providers, while unrecognised or criminalised, were found to be more reliable, though largely unsafe.
The report recommended reconciling water as an economic good and a social justice imperative.
In response to the comprehensive report, Professor Olanrewaju Fagboun, a prominent figure in environmental law, praised the clarity and sector-specific breakdown of the recommendations.
He urged the Lagos State Government to embrace the outcomes and implement the suggested solutions.
Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Jamiu Alli-Balogun, and Director of Education Resource Centre, Omolayo Akinlade, on behalf of the Lagos State Government, expressed gratitude for the efforts of the consortium.
They pledged support for the implementation of the recommendations while urging organizers to facilitate broader access to the findings among relevant ministries and agencies.