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Awka: Residents lament as refuse takes over major streets, roundabouts

By Uzoma Nzeagwu, Awka
22 November 2022   |   4:02 am
Residents in Awka, Anambra State capital are lamenting the dumping of refuse in major streets and roundabouts, stressing that it could cause serious health hazards.

Refuse dump in major street at Awka

• ASWAMA urges residents to adhere to new collection arrangement
Residents in Awka, Anambra State capital are lamenting the dumping of refuse in major streets and roundabouts, stressing that it could cause serious health hazards.

According to them, the sight of refuse littering the state capital and environs has become unbearable as residents now drop their waste anywhere, particularly people living far away from Zik avenue, turning the environment into an eyesore.

Also, the drainages running through the major roads, like Arthur Eze, Works road, among others are littered with heaps of refuse, which have become a recurring site.

The Guardian investigation showed that parts of Awka, especially the major streets and within the market areas have almost been covered with wastes, exposing people to health hazards, as passersby always cover their nostrils while crossing the area.

Another problem is that the waste disposal trucks operators are not constant with prompt clearing of wastes.

In Awka, residents complained bitterly over the absence of the ‘original refuse dump’ sites located in some areas, which have now been removed, with surveillance mounted to arrest offenders.

The situation is not different in Onitsha, Nnewi the industrial city, among other towns, which are characterised by indiscriminate dumping of wastes.

In their reactions, while some residents blame the ugly situation on the population explosion in Awka, which is fast growing due to the influx of more people for commerce, others attributed it to negligence on the part of the government and contractors responsible for refuse disposal.

Narrating her experience, Mrs Nancy Ihugbah, health personnel in Awka, lamented that flies and stench oozing from refuse dumps are threats to public health.

A resident, Mr. Ukaegbu Johnson called on government to always ensure heaps of refuse were disposed of as at when due, employ more refuse disposal operators for the safety of the citizenry.

Also speaking, Paul Oziruoha wondered why the state government was in a hurry to remove receptacles for refuse, when concrete arrangements were not put in place, urging the Governor to reconsider its position. “Where do you expect Awka residents to dump waste? That’s why people now drop their refuse anywhere at any little opportunity”, he said.

He lamented that the problem escalated after the state government banned waste disposal dumpsites across the state.

The state Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo had few months ago banned the dumping of refuse on pavements, roads and communal dump sites across the state aimed at curbing the wanton littering of major cities, especially in Onitsha, Awka, Ekwulobia, Nnewi and their neighbouring communities with wastes of many months.

The government, however, through the Anambra State Wastes Management Agency (ASWAMA), has urged members of the public to adhere to its new arrangement of house-to -house collection of waste disposal.

There is also a system put in place where people can drop their waste on the pavement along major roads, including Zik Avenue, for the waste management agency to collect promptly, yet the instruction is not working.

Also, the state council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), has advised the state through ASWAMA to review its policy of house-to-house collection of waste as the strategy seems not to be working yet.

The council advocated a two-way approach where the house-to-house collection will coexist with the previous method of replacing receptacles at strategic points in towns and cities to make waste management more efficient.

But the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Anambra State Wastes Management Agency (ASWAMA), Mike Ozoemena, has explained that the government has put in place plans to actualise prompt and effective clearance of drains, as well as collection and evacuation of household wastes.

He said that the state government has engaged 31 contractors in waste management to ensure actualisation of a clean ‘Anambra environment.’

He added that the state government has divided the state into 31 constituencies, to enable each of the 30 contractors to focus on each of the constituencies, while the remaining one contractor will specifically take care of Obosi, in Idemili North Local Council of the state.

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