Lagos, Nigeria has a population of around 21 million people, but only produces around 2 million tons a year, fifteen times less then New York City, which has a much smaller population. One of the fastest growing cities in the world has a tremendous problem in how to deal with the waste the city produces itself, but also is dealing with (illegally) imported waste from Europe and the USA.The two landfills in Lagos are full and there is no real viable alternative in the near future what needs to happen next. At least the thousands of scavengers working at the landfill help to recycle under harrowing conditions. What looks like apocalyptic is actually very well organised. What is surprising is that the landfill doesn’t smell as bad as others do around the world, this is largely due to the fact that Nigerians hardly waste any food.
The city is planning to close the landfills and build transfer and sorting stations and incinerators, but this will take years before they are operational. In the meantime in some areas of Lagos people use waste to reclaim land from the sea to build on.