Residents of homes around Olusosun Dumpsite in the Oregun area of Ikeja, Lagos State, are in danger of contracting a variety diseases, including life-threatening ones.
In addition to the hazards posed by lack of clean water and dirty swamps, Olusosun, reputedly Africa's biggest dumpsite, has been an environmental nightmare because it harbours a vast array of toxic substances. The site was recently ordered closed by the Lagos State Government, which also advised those living in the area to relocate. In fact, Olusosun remains an environmental nightmare.
A 2016 report published by nigeriarealestatehub.com warned that stench from the dumpsite was harmful and that the dumpsite should not be close to a residential area. The report was titled "Olusosun: The Looming Environmental Disaster".
The warning contained in the article and others like it were ignored by the Lagos State Government until the recent fire incident at Olusosun. Among the health hazards posed by the dumpsite to those living and working around the dumpsite, SaharaReporters gathered, are communicable childhood diseases like polio, cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM) and cholera.
With its huge accumulation of disused automobile batteries and industrial waste, Olusosun increases susceptibility to abdominal colic, constipation, fatigue, haemolytic anaemia, peripheral neuropathy, encephalopathy, convulsion, nervous system and red blood cells damage.
An estimated 10,000 tons of waste was being poured into Olusosun daily before its closure. The dumpsite is said to sit astride 100 acres of land.
A nurse at the Olusosun Primary Health Center told SaharaReporters that residents of Olusosun community face the challenges of air and water pollution as well as Typhoid and malaria fevers. According to her, the whole of the area was a dumpsite before it was filed. This, she said, makes clean water unavailable.
She explained that the swampy terrain of the community is makes malaria very rampant, as mosquitoes breed easily. She disclosed that Typhoid and malaria are the most commonly reported health conditions at the facility where she works.
The nurse added that the health centre enlightened residents on personal hygiene, which helped reduce the rampancy of diseases in the area. She commended the Lagos State Government's decision to close the dumpsite.
Dr. Olumide Ayayi, who runs a healthcare environment organisation in Gbagada area of Lagos, was quoted by an online publication as condemning the government for allowing the situation at the dumpsite to degenerate. He advised the government to arrest emission from the site, so as to avoid further pollution on the environment.
Scavengers on the dumpsite are understandably not pleased that the government closed the dumpsite, saying the closure has affected their trade.
Residents told SaharaReporters that they send huge amounts of money on hospital bills, especially on children.
Olusosun, SaharaReporters learned, was a shooting range. The government took over the land after the Civil War, a situation that nudged the families who owned the land to head to court. The court, in 2000, ruled in favour of the land-owning families. A part of the land was retained by the government as the dumpsite, while the other was filled for residential purpose.