Waste-to-energy facility: British High Commission, Lagos State environment officials on site visit

Ahead of the establishment of the first waste-to-energy facility in Lagos State, officials of the British High Commission in Nigeria and the Lagos State Ministry of Environment have conducted a site visit to WestAfrica ENRG facilities in the state.

WestAfrica ENRG is a British company that will establish the waste-to-energy facility in partnership with the Lagos State government.

The British Government therefore gave a seal of approval for more foreign investments in Lagos.

The approval was given by Deputy British High Commissioner in Nigeria, Mr Ben Llewellyn Jones who spoke at Igando refuse dumpsite after a guided tour of facilities of West African ENRG alongside State officials led by the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tunji Bello.

“Though some people think about Nigeria and investments and look the other way, we say ‘look this way’. We will help you and it is a real opportunity here and it is being demonstrated today. There are opportunities to grow beyond even what is being achieved now which is so fantastic.

“It is absolutely outstanding what is being achieved using British technology, finance and real great Nigerian drive and expertise to create something special that is really going to grow and grow”,  he said.

He noted that issues of climate change, pollution, plastics getting into the drains are being solved by the West Africa ENRG waste conversion facility which is impressive.

Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources Tunji Bello while welcoming the team said the quest of West African ENRG to move waste to wealth by establishing the first waste-to-energy facility speaks volume about the conducive business atmosphere in Lagos.

Tunji Bello who was with the Perm Secretary, Environmental Services, Mrs Belinda Odeneye and LAWMA MD, Ibrahim Odumboni said West African ENRG came to Lagos in 2014, had its waste conversion plant unveiled by Governor Fashola in 2015, adding that the company now plans to set up a waste-to-energy plant.

“There were some intervals of difficulties that we have now successfully overcome. Now, we have been able to restore all that they started with. They have also improved a lot of things. You must have observed during the inspection today a lot of conversion processes from waste to plastics, rubber, cans and bottles,” Bello stated.

The commissioner said from the brief and visual clips on the proposed waste to energy project presented by West Africa ENRG, it is clear that if the organisation gets more enablement, it would make further progress in waste conversion.

“Lagos has always been a Mecca of investments. What we just need to do is to make sure that infrastructural developments are accelerated and substantial progress is being made in that regard. We have the roads, water and other infrastructural facilities ready”, he emphasised.

While taking the guests round, the CEO, West Africa ENRG, Paul O’Callaghan said his organisation plans to invest about 125 million dollars to build a 25 megawatts waste to energy facility that would process 2.5 tonnes of waste daily.

“At the moment, it takes three to four hours in the dry season to tip waste at the open landfill site to the wet season that takes as much as 24 hours depending on the weather. We are committing to under 30 minutes and aiming for 15 minutes turnaround time,” O’Callaghan explained.

He said the new project means the PSP will move from houses to the waste to energy facility and within 15 minutes will be back on the streets collecting wastes, thus creating a better economy for the PSP and a quicker and cleaner Lagos State.

Mr O’Callaghan who was with the COO, Lolade Oresanwo, expressed readiness to convert Olusosun dumpsite to a waste-to-energy facility that would be built to British standard in terms of emission control if closed down, adding that it would take approximately 20 months to complete after groundbreaking.

Managing Director of LAWMA, Ibrahim Odumboni who was part of the team expressed confidence with what he has seen, there is the capacity to cope with the level of recyclables that will be generated from the society while sorting from source.

“For me, this is an encouragement for us to give them an enabling environment to do something similar around here and other parts of Lagos so that we can bring development and prosperity to a circular economy within the state.

“We want to have the first waste to energy plant in Lagos, before the end of the year. So, following today’s visit, we are in discussion to be able to give them a letter of Intent, with the possibility of signing an MOU as soon as possible to commence a step towards waste to energy for Lagos state”, the MD explained.

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