The Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency, LASEPA, has issued a ‘stop-work’ order to two steel and iron manufacturing companies in Ikorodu, Sun flag and Top Steel companies.
The agency also sounded a stern warning to other steel and iron manufacturing companies, operating in the axis to ensure their activities were in tandem and within the permissible state environmental standards.
The General Manager, Dr. Adedolapo Fasawe, who led the enforcement team to the two companies, decried the squalid and unsafe working conditions, as workers were observed conducting their duties with minimal risk control to staff, their surrounding communities and even the state at large.
Fasawe described the situation as “grave”, citing the negative effects to the immediate and long-term wellbeing of those working, living and sadly, the most vulnerable population, the children, elderly, who are worst affected by this gross misuse of the shared environment of Lagos State.
She described the inherent risk of explosions, fire, and other public safety concerns happening owing to poor housekeeping.
The General Manager said the development was worrisome, revealing that the visit to the factories was in response to complaints received from residents of the area, environmental monitoring data and the outcome of surveillance conducted by LASEPA three days prior the official visit.
She stated that the visit revealed that most of the activities going on in Ikorodu industrial area did not comply with Lagos State environmental standards, as well as international best practices vis-à-vis industrial waste management and circularity.
“There are environmentally friendly ways to carry out recycling activities, Lagos State is promoting and encouraging a shift from linear to circular economy.
“The government, under Gov. Sanwo-Olu encourages recycling but not at the expense of our people’s lives and the environment” she said.
“A lot of the machines being used here for recycling are archaic, poorly maintained, not fit for purpose under current and future environmental standards. They release large quantities of noxious gases, fumes and other hazardous substances which are direct result of prioritizing profit over the planet and people.
“As a government, we will continue to do everything within our power to ensure that the quality of air which our residents breathe and indeed all environmental media (land, soil, flora, fauna) is not negatively impacted by industrial activities.” the LASEPA boss said.
Speaking further, the General Manager revealed that the State Government in partnership with the World Bank, sited six pilot Air Quality Monitoring Stations located in Akoka, Jakara-Island Ipaja, Ikeja, Lekki and Ikorodu.
“Historical and real-time measurements from the pilot Air Quality Monitoring Station in Ikorodu has repeatedly shown high levels of various by-products of iron recycling operations in the air around Ikorodu and as far as downwind as Lagos Island,” she said.
According to her, all sealed up plants must provide an environmental action and clean-up plan, a detailed environmental management policy document, as well as normalise all necessary state government documents and taxes before being considered for reopening.
Mr Pankaj Mutreja, the General Manager, Sunflag Steel Nigeria Ltd and Adilya Pathalk of Top Steel Company respectively agreed to comply with all environmental laws of the state and stop all environmentally damaging activities.