Boasting a growing population of 21 million, Lagos produces approximately 10,000 metric tons (11,023 tons) of trash per day. Of that trash, the city’s main dumping site, Olusosun, receives only 40 percent of Lagos’ trash. In an attempt to organize garbage collection, the Visionscape Group, an environmental and waste management company working closely with the government, rolled out over 900,000 electronically tracked garbage bins across the Nigerian capital.
The announcement of the city’s new electronically tracked garbage bins complements the Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI), which is set to launch in early 2018, and aims to make Lagos the greenest city in Africa by 2029. As part of the CLI, the fleet of electronically tracked garbage bins are coupled with 600 compactors in order to manage the 10,000 metric tons Lagos produces on the daily.
Visionscape released a series of recommendations to Lagosians regarding garbage disposal during the holiday season. One of these recommendations was to encourage guests to recycle and provide guests with reusable cutlery in an attempt to reduce the amount of garbage that comes out of holiday gatherings.
The fleet of electronically tracked garbage bins comes at a time when the city’s largest landfill, Olusosun, is not only overflowing with trash, but has also become a breeding ground for malaria, yellow fever and other diseases. Mounds of trash tower as high as 10 storeys at the landfill, which serves as a source of income for roughly 4,000 people. Originally situated on the outskirts of Lagos, the landfill has become a nuisance for Lagosians, prompting the government to vow to close Olusosun by 2022.
In 2014, Lagos state announced it would begin to turn its trash into electricity through a pilot project at the Ikosi market. The project’s scheme looks at fermenting rotten fruit in an anaerobic digester to produce gas that can power a generator and also produce compost fertilizer. Another initiative gathers methane gas through pumps plastered vertically into the ground at the Olusosun landfill, which can then be used to generate electricity. Of the trash that is collected at the Olusosun landfill, approximately 40 percent is organic material.
The electricity-powered garbage bins and the CLI are some of the numerous initiatives started by Lagosians themselves, aimed at remedying the city’s garbage woes. Mass accumulation and mismanagement of trash is causing problems in other cities around the world, prompting initiatives similar to Visionscape’s bins to rise up.
By 2025, according to a World Bank report, the waste produced by cities around the globe will be enough to fill a line of rubbish trucks 3,100 miles (5,000 kilometers) long every day.