Management of solid waste did not become a phenomenon in Nigeria until the early 1970’s, when due to the oil boom, which compounded the emerging industrialization and urbanization, the resultant high volume of waste was becoming increasingly difficult for the Local Government Councils in Lagos State to manage. Such that, by 1977, when Nigeria hosted FESTAC ’77, the world press classified Lagos as the “dirtiest” city capital Consequently, in April 1977, the first waste management outfit in West Africa was instituted, as Lagos State Refuse Disposal Board (LSRDB) in Nigeria, under Edict 9 of 1977, with Powell Duffen Pollution Control Consultants of Canada as managers.

In 1981, its name was changed to Lagos State Waste Disposal Board (LSWDB) because of the added responsibilities for industrial-commercial waste collection and disposal, drain clearing and disposal of derelict / scrapped vehicles. Finally, in December 1991, its current name, the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) was christened under Edict No. 55, which made the agency to be responsible for the collection and disposal of municipal and industrial waste, as well as for the provision of commercial waste services to the State and Local Governments.