Given the marshy soil topography of the Niger Delta, there is an urgent need for effective waste management in Delta State, especially during this wet season, which is characterised by flooding, writes correspondent, CHRIS ERIYAMREMU.
The amount of waste being generated daily from urban and rural areas in the Delta State, from all indication has greatly increased, thereby causing serious health hazard in the state.
Apart from the health menace, the indiscriminate disposal of waste by residents has led to littering of the environment and blockage of major drainages.
Due to the blockage of drains, it has made it easy for flooding whenever it rains, a situation which has destroyed several houses and made residents homeless.
It appears that officials of the Delta State Waste Management Board, DSWMB are not doing enough to curtail the ugly trend, thereby having hard time or difficulties in managing waste being generated by residents in major cities in the state.
The immediate past administration of former governor of the state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, through the Ministry of Environment cleared several canals and drainages to curtail flooding within major cities across the state.
The Uduaghan government also initiated Public Private Partnership in which private waste collectors were contracted for the collection of waste generated by residents.
Initially, the programme was laudable as collectors were doing their jobs effectively, but it was obvious that residents appear to be frustrating the efforts of the waste collectors by disposing their waste indiscriminately.
This has been attributed to poor education of residents on the hazards of indiscriminate disposal of waste to their health and environment.
Some residents deliberately dumped their waste in the drainages and even major roads without putting into consideration its negative effects to the environment and roads users.
An environmental expert, Chief Sunny Onuesoke, who spoke to Nigerian Pilot Sunday on the issue, said, it is the responsibility of residents to keep their environment clean, dispose their waste properly for onward collection by government waste collectors.
Onuesoke lamented that waste disposed indiscriminately by residents had blocked major canals and drainages leading to unnecessary flooding in the state.
According to him, waste management has been an issue in Nigeria, and will still be a huge one in a long time to come if governments and residents do not pay more attention to the dangers of its menace now.
The expert who also major in climate change said waste generation is affected by a country’s’ development and economic management from domestic, industrial to commercial waste.
He said, “all these depends on population, economic activity, development and people orientation on what is considered as waste and how it should be managed even from the stage where it is generated, eliminated or recycled if possible.”
The environmentalist pointed that in most developed countries; the process of waste management is controlled from a point where certain amount of waste is allowed, for instance, buying items or products that will generate waste, which cannot be properly managed at home, is not allowed.
He added that poultry products are bought from stores in already prepared form; fish are bought cleaned and packaged in various forms.
Onuesoke, said there are nongovernmental organisations, NGOs and environmental foundations that have the expertise and are ready to partner with governments for an effective waste management.
Volunteering to support the efforts of the Delta State government led by Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, in cleaning the state of waste, he also encouraged residents to see it as their responsibilities to dispose their waste properly.
“As residents we must get it very clear that government alone cannot clean the environment for us, we must ensure to dispose our waste properly and clean our environment for the sake our health.”
Adding that in developed countries, waste are sorted out in tagged bags from homes before being taken away to dumpsite which makes it easier to know degradable and non degradable waste.
He lamented that this is not obtainable in our own clime here in Nigeria, noting, “Our streets are littered with waste, our drainages are often blocked by waste, people are not informed about waste management procedures and the agencies and law enforcement agencies with environmental agencies are not competent and well trained to do their jobs.
“Even at that the policies guiding waste disposal are weakly implemented with very few dump site around for mass waste disposal, we are set to throw waste anywhere.”
He pointed that commercial and industrial waste are treated with kids gloves even with climate change effects of the kind of waste stirring at us, we are yet to take effective steps in handling solid waste in Nigeria.
Most collection points of waste generated are from homes, market, streets, construction sites, factories.
He however expressed displeasure over the processes of collection and final disposal by waste agents or collectors.
‘To ensure effective waste management in Delta State, all residents must be involved, putting in place an effective process of collection of waste to designated dumpsite, provision of enough dumpsite, public enlightenment programmes, and most importantly the waste to wealth programmes, and environmental sanitation programmes,” the environmentalists further argued.


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