Flood Mitigation: The Lagos Example | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Business, Property & Environment

Flood Mitigation: The Lagos Example

Posted: Jun 9, 2015 at 12:04 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By  Nkasiobi Oluikpe –  Lagos


Ahead of the anticipated flooding in the state, the Lagos State government is presently embarking on a flood mitigation exercise across the state with workers dispatched to various locations, de-silting and clearing the drainages of solid waste.

Though the state is just some seven metres above sea level, the Lagos State government has assured its residents that it will do everything within its power to make the state livable for all and sundry.

In one of its drainage inspection tours across the state, the permanent secretary, Office of Drainage Services of the Ministry of the Environment, Adebayo Adenekan, hinted that the plan of the government was to remove all the waste in the canals, so that by the time the rains are coming, they will be able to find their way to the canals.

He pointed out that government constructed the drains and carried out their regular maintenance for the benefit of the people and that Lagos State had not recorded incidents of major flooding since 2011, a stride for which Lagos State had received many accolades.

Adenekan stressed that the environment was key to development, hence the need for environmental protection and sustainability, which he said was one of the cardinal programmes of the Lagos State Government, adding that Lagosians must see drainage channels as their assets which they must act to protect.

Speaking further he said: “All of us will have to be vigilant to ensure that nobody dumps refuse in drainage channels.”

While allaying the fears entertained in some quarters concerning cases of flash flood, Adenekan explained that flash flooding may be experienced in the state, but would disappear within a short period of time, saying that it is not peculiar to Lagos alone, it is a worldwide phenomenon.

He also noted that most of the flooding problems faced in the state were avoidable, self created problems, due to the attitude of people towards government properties, hence the need for a change of attitude.

Adenekan indicated that, besides he and his group, there are other different groups dispatched to various locations to monitor and checkmate the activities of people working at the drainages. It is a work in progress, and we are up to the task, he assured.

Responding to why the various sensitization programmes of the previous administration appear not to have had much impact on peoples attitude towards drainage maintenance, Adenekan clarified that they will increase their effort by intensifying the sensitization programmes.

“Within this week and the weeks ahead, you will begin to hear us in the radio jingles, informing them not to drop wastes in the canals. We will also send people around to different areas to inform them that it is all to our own advantage to desist from doing these things. You may think you have succeeded in emptying your refuse, but by the end of the day, it will land in the canals and block water flow. When the rains drop, it will cause a flood and destroy other people’s property. We are going to intensify our sensitization to the people,” he said.

The ministry is not working in isolation, as the permanent secretary indicated, they will be working in partnership with the local government chairmen and Community Development Authorities (CDA) members.

“We are going to work with the local government chairmen who in turn will work with the CDAs involved to sensitize people around and to inform them not to drop refuse in the drainages.  You know that the canals flow across the state, so what you see here does not necessarily mean that those refuse were generated here. They could have been disposed along the markets and they find their way down to the canals and get clogged up.”

On the issue of truck pushers, Adenekan reiterated that they remain banned, hence, it is dangerous to patronize them as they have nowhere to empty their refuse but inside the canals at night. We are encouraging people to patronize the PSP operators who are officially licensed and can take the refuse to designated refuse dumps.