…..a glimpse into the record of LASEPA’s 6th and 1st Female GM
By Bola Ajao, (CPAO -Lasepa)
The strategic position of Lagos State as the economic hub of Nigeria and the West Africa region confer certain responsibilities on the state, that is, an emerging smart city. Among these responsibilities is the need to adopt more friendly environmental policies to tackle the issues of pollution, flood and also guarantee a healthy society, amongst others.
The Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) being the agency of government with the mandate of protecting and improving the environment, by providing environmental friendly solutions to varied environmental challenges was established on the 1st of November, 1996, under LASEPA Edict No.9 of 1996 to assist public and private organizations, industries, businesses and non-governmental organizations to achieve compliance through outlined guidelines and standard.
As a regulatory body, the agency over the two decades of its existence has deployed creative means to address environmental challenges and also bequeath to the good people of the state, a clean and safe environment regardless of their status.
To further sustain the ingenuity which the agency had been known for over the years, the administration of Mr Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu took the bull by the horns by putting in place passionate and resourceful hands capable of driving the vision of mitigating the adverse effects of pollution caused by several years of total neglect due to urbanization and industrialization.
Heading this team of resourceful personnel at LASEPA is a medical doctor by training but now a doctor of the environment by passion and zeal, Dr Adedolapo Ayokunle Fasawe, who was appointed on the 19th of August, 2019 as the sixth and first female General Manager to be appointed in the 26 years of the agency’s existence. Fasawe brought her expertise to bear in the management of the agency, by expanding the scope, mode of operation and significantly transformed LASEPA to a reputable regulatory body in the environment being under studies and replicated across the country and beyond.
LASEPA remains committed to creating a healthy lifestyle and serene environment that are emblematic of smart cities such as Lagos through developmental initiatives and partnerships with several strategic partners, including, World Bank, Dangote, African Steel, UNIDO, US Mission, Oando, IHS Towers, the United Nations, Wema Bank and Standard Chartered Bank, amongst others, to secure funding, support, recognition for activities, solutions, and interventions that relevant and adaptable to the city’s unique environmental challenges.
Dr Adedolapo Ayokunle Fasawe, remains a signpost for good and excellent leadership. Since she assumed office, The General Manager has demonstrated doggedness, commitment and seamless delivery of her core mandates in addition to an all-inclusive style of managing resources of the agency.
He background as a medical practitioner made it possible for her to achieve giant strides within a short time, as a matter of fact, it took her, just a short spate of time to diagnose the agency’s need and quickly fix them all through systematic positioning of the agency to the path of efficiency and professionalism through periodic capacity building for the ranks and files of the agency. Today, in Lagos State, the fear of LASEPA is the beginning of wisdom, particularly, for the polluters of our dear state
Remarkably, the tenure of the present General Manager witnessed several laudable and impactful projects. For instance, the agency, in August 2022 launched a project tagged: “Eko Clean Air initiative”” at Itedo Community (Eti-Osa) to address air pollution, promote circular economy and also empower the vulnerable members of the society for a sustainable development.
Like a man who saw tomorrow, these initiatives and other new ideas became masterstrokes and attracted holistic partnership with sustainability advocates as well as introduction and distribution of branded ‘Switch to Gas ‘cylinders, eco-friendly materials such as multiple use bottles/bags and rechargeable lamps (to help in the reduction of air pollution, improve quality of life and further promote friendly lifestyles) to households and communities respectively.
In all, there was adoption of more strong environmental policies such as banning of single use plastics/bags/amplifiers at motor parks, open places, free hearing test for the residents as well as the introduction of Trash for Cash ( a waste- to – value incentivized circular economy).
The locals were encouraged to exchange their single use plastics, oily waste and electrical waste for cash reward, cowry card, health insurance or food produce. The focus is to prevent pollution, reduce indiscriminate dumping of waste in drains, water channels, and mitigate effect of climate change as well as empowering the venerable. Communities like Itedo (Eti-Osa) Ibeshe (Ori- Ade), Ikorodu, Obalende and Elegbata (Lagos- Island) LCDAs have respectively benefited and to be replicated in all 57 LCDAs.
To walk the talk, single use plastics were banned within LASEPA premises, while symbolic presentation of reusable water bottles and multiple use bags were presented to all staff as a sustainable option to plastics and positioning of water dispensers and paper cups at strategic areas within agency facilities.
In order to drastically reduce the bureaucratic huddles of public service and further enhance effectively service delivery, LASEPA Boss increased the zonal offices from four (4) to Twenty (20) to conform with the year 2023 vision of the agency to seamlessly reach out to its various publics within the nooks and crannies of the state in other to proffer solutions to myriad of challenges confronting the state.
The newly created zonal offices include Lekki, Mushin, Amuwo Odofin 1 &2, Surulere, Mainland, Ikorodu 1 & 2, others are Ojo, Oshodi-Isolo, Apapa 1 &2, Alimiosho 1, 2 &3, Agege,Badagry,Epe, Kosofe and Orile Igamu .
To maintain the leadership role as the number one environmental protection agency, the agency in 2020 commissioned three (3) developmental projects which included:
- a mini effluent treatment plant (ETP) that has the capacity of treating wastewater and residual samples from industries that do not have access to effluent treatment plants or unable to meet the State’s acceptable standards.
- The installation of six (6) air quality control monitoring stations at Alausa, Lagos Island ,Akoka, Ikorodu, Abesan Ipaja, and Lekki respectively to attain clean air and minimize pollution by comparing pollution levels to ambient air quality criteria.
- As well as the E-library and Resource Centre to facilitate the agency’s activities, detect plagiarism in technical reports and also open to research activities.
Another giant feat recorded under the doctor of the environment was the upgrading and Certification of the seven (7) individual laboratories to become the first ISO – certified government- owned Environmental Laboratory in Nigeria (9000:2015). This noble move aims to assist the state government with empirical data to formulate better informed policy for the benefit of the people and environment.
LASEPA in the last four years (4), has been consistent in the promotion of socio and economic growth of the state without compromise. It has continued to win the confidence of the public through remarkable professional conducts and unflinching commitment to excellence. The ice on the cake was the introduction of e payment and provision of point of sale (POS) machines to all zonal offices for ease of payment of environmental fines. This has boosted the revenue of the government and further promoted transparency and accountability.
Like the proverbial old wine that gets better and fresher with age, LASEPA is in good hands and getting better in its commitment to drawing the public attention to the challenges of the environment as well as gingering environmental activism in students through environmental school advocacy programs.
The agency against all odd will continue to be dedicated to building a people that are bounded by a common goal of protecting the sanctity of the environment to attain a cleaner, safer and healthier environment for all, with due consideration for the 3Ps & S (The Planet, People, Profit & Sustainability).
The agency commemorates all recognized international environmental days, such as International Noise Awareness Day, international e-waste day, soil day Global Recycling Day, and World Environment Day, among others, with activities that benefit the public and promote positive environmental attitudes.