Some representatives of Ogundimu Fishing Community, Iwaya in Lagos on Thursday, June 20, 2019 appealed to the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) to curtail drifting of debris and refuse down their end of the Lagoon.
They made the appeal in an interview with a correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) who visited the community.
The visit was to find out how the community was keeping the water environment clean and hygienic for aquatic lives they depend on for their livelihood.
Investigations revealed that the water was blackish in colour, while debris and refuse of all sorts ranging from empty plastic containers to other materials that were an eyesore.
A representative of the community, Mr Monday Ajuesi, disclosed that the debris did not originate from the community.
“’This is the entrance of the secondary and primary drains in Lagos Mainland into the Lagoon.
“’These refuse and debris come from far. Unfortunately, as they float around, they anchor under the wooden houses we erected as our living homes.
“’On our own, we do clear them from time to time, but it requires LAWMA paying attention to the Lagoon and find permanent solution to the debris and refuse drifting and anchoring here,” he said.
Ajuesi said that the canoes that were plying around were categorised into male and female.
“’The female canoe also known as crayfish boats are used by the women to trade in the water, while the male boats have engines used to fish periwinkle near the water edge,” he said.
Mrs Roseline Omotenshi, Leader of the Ogundimu Fishing Community Women Association, said that preventing the water from being blackish was beyond them.
“’The colour of the water is caused by the dirt drifting down the area from drainage systems all over the mainland. For now, we rely on rainfall to make the water clean.
“’On the refuse, we do not have control of what comes down here, but we can work with government to keep the place clean,” she said.
Mrs Mary Amodu, a member of the association, said that fishes in the area were not developing well because of the refuse and debris and the colour of the water.
“The water environment is actually affecting development of fishes in the area. This is where we live, do our trade and have our children.
“’Everybody in this community can swim and we erect our houses above the water. It is unfortunate that the water environment is like this but there is nothing we can do,” she said.
Mrs Lydia Amodu, also a member of the association, said that the community carried out sanitation to clear debris and refuse from the water.
“’As we clean, the dirt is coming and anchoring here. ‘The activities of those living far from here and throwing all manner of refuse and debris into the drainage channels should be checked.
“’It is the government that can do that. If the government does not, we will keep on seeing all this dirt around here.
“The tide is high now that is why you see the water at this level where we can paddle the canoes and do our businesses. When the tide recedes, we now go into the Lagoon for other activities,” she said.
Mrs Aiyese Makojami said that the community needed LAWMA’s presence in the area.
“These dirt, plastic containers, nylons, cartons and others come from as far as Ebute Metta, Makoko, Iwaya areas, University of Lagos and all the channels emptying into the Lagoon at this end.
“We need LAWMA’s assistance to clean it regularly,” she said.
Mrs Olabisi Dairo said the community would appreciate it if LAWMA mobilised its youths, girls and boys in the community to clean the water regularly.
“As of today, there is nothing like LAWMA in the community. Our boys and girls can be employed as LAWMA officials to clear the water of debris and refuse.
“I am assuring you that they will do it very well and pack the debris and refuse upland where LAWMA trucks will evacuate them,” she said.
Dairo said that the youth needed to be empowered to help the government to keep the entrance to the Lagoon clean.
She said that they know that dirty environment and the dark water was not good for their health as well as the aquatic lives in the area.
The community relies on water from boreholes dug nearby for the members of the community for drinking and cooking. About 10,000 people live in the community.
By Chidinma Agu