As the dry season sets in, some residents in Abuja metropolis have returned to the habit of dumping refuse in drainage channels, thereby blocking free flow of wastewaters.
Drainages in areas such as Kubwa, Saburi, Wuse, Dutse, Kuje and Bwari are filled with wastes and tall grasses blocking water channels. Residents fear if the trend continues, it may worsen impact of the rainy season on the capital city.
Residents are also worried about lack of waste bins in locations like Maitama, Garki, Jabi and other places in the city centre. Speaking with The Guardian, a businessman, Kagara Aliyu, lamented that the city lacks proper waste disposal system. He noted that the menace could if people prioritise a clean and safe environment.
Another resident, Duncan Kingsley, a civil servant also decried the unhealthy attitude of residents and advised people to act in accordance with environmental laws.
Also speaking, a resident of Dutse, Kalu Opara, said: “The littered drainages are draining out the health of residents here, but they don’t care. Malaria is prominent among the people. This is due to the stagnant water that breeds these mosquitoes.”
Reacting to the development, an environmentalist, Dr. Chidinma Therese Odaghara, said the government and residents have a great role to play in curbing the menace. “Flooding in Nigeria is human-induced basically. For the government, already there are laws in existence. For instance, we have the urban and regional planning Act, which applies in Abuja. Let it be strictly implemented and enforced by government Ministries, Departments and Agencies. As for residents, corrupt practices such as offering gratification to town planning officials, surveyors, and other officials to permit the unauthorised use of land and alteration of approved construction plans should be avoided.”
The Director Solid Waste Management, Abuja Environmental Protection Board,Benjamin Enwerem, said: “I don’t agree that waste is not properly handled in the Federal Capital Territory because we have a system in place for waste management services. It is expected that every household, institution, agency and private establishment should have a waste disposal or waste collection receptacle where waste is deposited.”
“Abuja Environmental Protection Board through the assigned contractors pick up these wastes and move them directly to our dump site and that is been carried out effectively. When we arrest people involved in illegal waste disposal, they are fined. If we arrest offenders, they are prosecuted through the law. The fine ranges from N2, 000 to N5, 000, for individuals. For organisations it is about N50, 000. If households and organisations have waste bins, waste will be properly disposed and there won’t be problems.” He appealed to residents to have a change of attitude in their management of waste and ensure environmental hygiene.