• Sat. May 25th, 2024

Lagos Residents Concerned Over New Market Amidst Growing Health Threats

ByHybrid News

May 15, 2024

Residents of the Oke-Afa area in Lagos State are increasingly worried about the health hazards posed by environmental pollution and neglect as the government constructs a new market near a long-standing dumpsite. The new Oba Osolo International Market, built on a recently cleared section of the dump site, highlights the Lagos State Government’s awareness of the dire environmental conditions.

On February 17, 2024, the bustling Mass Burial Market in Oke-Afa, Ejigbo Local Government Area, was a hive of activity as traders displayed fresh foodstuffs and livestock. Yet, the market’s proximity to a man-made dumpsite, teeming with rotting food, plastics, and metals, casts a shadow over these commercial activities. The oppressive stench of chemical fumes and decaying materials permeates the area, worsening during the rainy season when the ground becomes a muddy hazard.

Local residents and traders, accustomed to the foul environment, have resorted to spreading plantain stems to make the market walkable. Despite complaints, the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) has shown negligence, exacerbating the situation. Scavengers and cart pushers contribute to the growing mound of waste, while the surrounding community deals with the constant presence of flies, mosquitoes, and rodents.

Professor Tanimola Akande of the University of Ilorin emphasized the severe health risks posed by such environments. He noted that exposure to chemical hazards from the dumpsite can lead to respiratory diseases and long-term health issues, including cancer. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that unhealthy environments contributed to 12.6 million deaths globally in 2012, highlighting the grave dangers of air, water, and soil pollution.

The newly constructed market, amidst this polluted backdrop, underscores the Lagos State Government’s failure to address environmental sanitation. The proximity of fresh food markets and residential areas to the dumpsite raises significant health concerns. Residents report that LAWMA officials have not serviced the community for over two years, forcing locals to resort to self-help and illegal dumping practices.

Community leaders and environmental advocates stress the need for immediate government intervention. Nelson Nwafor, Executive Director of Foundations for Environmental Rights, Advocacy and Development (FENRAD), called for stringent regulations and investment in recycling to mitigate pollution. He urged the government to implement policies promoting sustainable practices and provide financial support for cleaner technologies.

The situation in Oke-Afa reflects a broader issue of inadequate waste management in Lagos, as rapid population growth strains the city’s resources. Effective waste disposal, regular service by LAWMA, and proactive measures are crucial to safeguarding public health and ensuring a cleaner environment.

This report was facilitated by the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) under its Collaborative Media Engagement for Development, Inclusivity, and Accountability (CMEDIA) project.

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