The increasing volume and attendant complexity of waste generation resulting from the rapid population growth, change in public consumption patterns, deficiencies in the existing regulatory framework and refuse disposal facilities, gave rise to a plethora of unsustainable waste management practices in Lagos State.
Thus in 1977, following the Festac Festival hosted in Lagos that attracted nationals from different countries across the world, Lagos earned a global notoriety as the ‘dirtiest’ city-capital, on account of the heaps of refuse adorning the major roads and waterways. At that time, managing the volume of refuse generated on a daily basis posed a major challenge to the State government, hence the need to establish an outfit for proper waste management in the State. Consequently, the Lagos State Refuse Disposal Board (LSRDB) was instituted under Edict No. 9 of 1977, which was the first of its kind in West Africa. The Board was saddled with the responsibilities of environmental sanitation and domestic refuse collection and disposal in the State.
The Board was rechristened the Lagos State Waste Management Authority by reason of a new Law – Edict No. 55 of 1991, which conferred on the Authority further responsibility for the collection and disposal of municipal and industrial waste streams as well as provision of commercial waste services to the State and Local Governments.
The Board metamorphosed over the years into the agency known today as the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) by virtue of the LAWMA Law 2007, and accrued added responsibilities ranging from management of commercial, industrial, and medical waste streams, highway sanitation, cleaning of drainage and other water bodies, to construction and demolition waste management, among others.
Between 2007 and now, various programmes and projects have been introduced towards optimizing the management and operating activities of LAWMA for improved service delivery across the city in line with global best practices, while safeguarding public health and conserving the environment for future generations.