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Environmentalist endorses new Lagos sanitation law

By Tony Obi

Governor Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State has been commended for his vision in ensuring that every person living in the state has a right to clean, safe and healthy environment.

An environmentalist, Mr. Desmond Majekodunmi, who made the commendation added: “The new law is a consolidation of what started few years ago which is aimed at putting Lagos where it ought to be and make Lagosians to live in a normal, healthy environment.”

The law makes it an offence for any person or group of persons to dump any toxic waste capable of causing harm while all emissions from vehicles, plants and equipment including generating plants in residential, commercial and industrial areas must meet air emission standard

It further stipulates that no manufacturing of chemicals, lubricants, petroleum products, cement (except for use in construction), gases or quarry takes place in a residential premise. It posits that manufacturers of such items will procure an insurance policy from an approved insurance company.

Every owner or occupier of a facility who uses, stores, keeps and maintains an underground storage tanks and surface storage tanks shall register such tanks with the enforcing authority, while a facility monitoring and inspection exercise will be carried out on all sites with surface or underground tanks periodically to determine the integrity of the facility involved. Soil test of the immediate environment will also be carried out to validate the integrity of the soil

Government said violators will face stiff penalties including heavy fines ranging from N250,000 to N5,000,000 and/or imprisonment.

It is also an offence to engage in street trading along the major highways and streets of Lagos and sell in an unapproved market. Every owner, tenant and occupier of any shop, kiosk, space or stall in any market shall on regular basis ensure the cleanliness of his or her space

It is mandatory for every commercial vehicle to carry a litterbin for the use of passengers to prevent passengers from throwing waste onto the streets from commercial vehicle. The law stipulates that if a commercial driver fails to provide the litterbin, the driver will be penalized alongside the passenger or the occupier of the vehicle who commits the offence

The law empowers government to demolish structures on sewage systems without approval. It makes it mandatory for anyone who wants to sink borehole or any structure connected with the supply of water to obtain permit from the office of drainage services to ensure compliance with standards.

The law also sets up the Lagos State Environmental Trust Fund to be independently managed by SEC (Stock Exchange Commission) regulated Board of Trustees with the aim of promoting the development and improvement of the state’s environmental performance and sustainability. This will create a system that can attract funds from persons, organizations and authorities required to tackle environmental issues as well as fund and promote the creation of job opportunities for youths in waste management and waste recycling among others.

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