The need to regulate sanitation services has become expedient given the Sustainable Development Goal 6:2 to achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation in the State.
This formed the thrust of the maiden meeting between the Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission and the Sewage and Wastewater Dislodgers Association of Nigeria (Swadan) to reaffirm the powers given to the commission to regulate all water and wastewater activities in the public and private sectors of the state.
Addressing the executive members of SWADAN, the Executive Secretary, LASWARCO, Mrs. Funke Adepoju, emphasised that stakeholders engagement has become essential to ensure that structures are set, regarding standards, licensing, guidelines, tariffs, coverage area and other regulatory provisions to achieve citywide Inclusive sanitation.
“This partnership is most essential because the dynamics of sewage disposal and treatment have advanced worldwide, Lagos State cannot be left behind, the state wastewater management office is the service provider, we regulate operators, regulation is crucial to improve the methods used, we need to know specific indices, duration, volume evacuated, areas covered and transport for a database such information will upscale actualities to enable us to facilitate global financial alternatives to transform the sector.”
Responding to the Director, Policy, Planning and Programmes, of the Lagos State Wastewater Management Office, Mr. Ayodeji Awolesi, said that “We have observed how sewage management has improved the world over using ecologically safe systems, regulation is the way forward for the sector.”
The presentation by Adefemi Afolabi, Director, Technical Services Department, centred on the basics required for improving the business.
He listed the operational chain to include wastewater generation, collection, evacuation, transportation, treatment and after-treatment saying unsafe faecal handling, evacuation and dislodging practices have resulted in major public health concerns hence the urgent need for regulation.
Afolabi restated the long-term benefits accruable to the sector and state when regulation is embraced. “Regulation will ensure compliance to public health guidelines leading to reduced waterborne diseases and improved sanitary conditions, consumers will pay for better service delivery just as turnover on investment increases, it also enables tariff setting and lays the template for a robust database of operators”.
The interactive session had service providers in the wastewater sector inquire about licensing and truck coding while seeking clarification on grey areas.
Chief Tunde Afowedu, SWADAN’s President said, “We agree that the business of sewage management has advanced, we are eager to improve, we will escalate enlightenment received to our members and adopt new methods.
Chairman of the association’s Board of Trustees, Otunba Odunua Odutola, said “I commend Laswarco’s leadership for the foresight to upgrade the critical sector in Lagos” while its General Secretary, Frank Iyere, expressed the need for further dialogue.