Leadership (Abuja)

2 January 2013

Nigeria: Clean Up Abuja

editorial

Despite measures being taken to ensure the advancement of the Federal Capital Territory so it could compete with other major capitals in the world, a large part of the Territory has continued to flounder in debris and dirt. Many places deserve mention, but the second gate leading in and out of the Federal Secretariat, a stone throw from the Federal Ministry of Interior, is an eyesore.

Also, at the back gate of the secretariat located at Area 1, Garki, an area accessible from the Area 3 axis of Garki, resides a heap of garbage left sloppily - it is contributed by pedestrians and residents alike who see it as another waste-generating site.

The storage and accumulation of trash, junk, rubbish and debris provide a harbourage for rodents, pests and varmints. Such condition compromises public health, resulting in perilous conditions. As reported a few years ago, the average waste-generation rate per bed/day was determined and established to be 2.78kg of solid waste, and 26.5 per cent of the total waste was hazardous in nature.

Waste segregation was discovered not to be practised by any of the hospitals surveyed - 18.3 per cent of the hospitals incinerated waste in a locally built brick incinerator; 9.1 per cent buried it; 36.3 per cent burnt waste in open pits, while 36.3 per cent disposed of waste in municipal dumpsites.

Trash and debris constitute fire hazards especially in the harmattan season and are a serious threat to public safety and general welfare. Horrid accrual of these wastes corrodes the appealing settings of any community, undignifying the quality of life of every citizen.

It is a public nuisance and illegal for any government, owner or occupant to permit the collection, neglect or storage of animal faeces, trash, rubbish, debris or junk on private or public property within the city. One would assume that the Federal Ministry of Environment officials would have sighted the heaps and done something about them.

Littering should be prohibited. In the good old days of Abuja, littering was a serious offence and even motorists did not dare to throw things out, as they would be quickly apprehended. Now the amount of negligence is appalling; many are careless about the excessive decadence and effect of throwing rubbish and dirt and how much they degenerate the ecosystem.

The FCT Administration declared sometime ago its intention to review the operational laws of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board to reflect the present realities. Little has been heard of this declaration. A review of the laws must include sanctions on anybody caught throwing out debris carelessly on the road. Serious crusades of the effect of environmental abuse via the media should be explored. There is the need to separate categories of waste, and ways of collection and disposal should be explained. Sanctions on non-compliance must be laid bare.

Meanwhile, the synergy of the AEPB and the Ministry of Environment should utilise taxpayers' money adequately to include the provision of waste bins at various areas, guaranteeing allocation of dumping sites for everyone to identify where or how to dispose of rubbish.

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