Citizens kick as Cross River reintroduces monthly sanitation in Calabar
Amid growing heaps of refuse in the streets of Calabar, Cross River State government has reintroduced the monthly environmental sanitation exercise.
The exercise, which was abolished more than 20 years ago has been brought back by Governor Ben Ayade, to hold every last Saturday of the month with the flag-off on October 30, 2022.
The governor in a statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Madam Tina Agbor , informed the people of the return of the monthly environmental sanitation exercise with a charge on the people to use the opportunity to clean their environment.
According to the statement, business and vehicular movements are restricted during the period of the exercise while defaulters are apprehended and made to pay fine for defaulting, except those on essential duties.
However, some residents have expressed worry over what will become of the refuse that will be generated from the exercise, given that there are already mountains of refuse in the city, which have not been evacuated.
They blamed the situation on the failure of relevant agencies to tackle refuse evacuation regularly. One of the respondents, Mrs. Eno Edem Ibok, who lives along Edibe Edibe by Richard Henshaw in Calabar South, lamented the situation whereby refuse had taken over the entire street making even pedestrian movement difficult, the stink coming from the reuse heaps is sickly and unbearable, while rodents, flies and vultures are common sites.
“The failure to do this has resulted in an escalating environmental crisis in waste management, resulting in a dangerous decline in the clean sanitary environment which the state was famous for. We are close to witnessing an epidemic anytime soon,” she stated.
Another resident, Mr Udobong Etim said: “When Duke was governor, there was no monthly sanitation and Calabar remained clean and free of dirt and heaps of refuse.
“What we need in Calabar is regular evacuation of refuse at street corners and not monthly sanitation that will compound the situation.”
But some people commended the governor for restoring the monthly environmental sanitation exercise. According to them, it will go a long way to restore the clean and green environment, which the state is noted for.
They called for closer collaboration between sister agencies and public spirited individuals and organisations to join hands with the government in ensuring that the exercise was not only successful, but that solution is found to the challenge of waste evacuation.