OYO State Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Chief Isaac Ishola has informed that the state government would embark on house-to-house inspection of refuse bin in residential, industrial and commercial houses across the state.
From Stella Obi, Ibadan
Speaking during a ministerial briefing in Ibadan, the Commissioner stated this was an avenue to implement environmental laws and check indiscriminate refuse disposal in the state.
Ishola who also hinted that the state government would be arresting street scavengers for messing up refuse dumps across the state while searching for scraps disclosed that the moves were part of efforts at ensuring strict compliance and enforcement of the state environmental laws.
“The Oyo State environmental law stipulates that every house must have a waste bin. Every person that generates waste must dispose it in a sustainable manner and through government accredited waste collectors. We will be inspecting the houses and any house without waste bin would be sealed after a three day grace period.” he said.
According to the commissioner, before enforcing usage of waste bin, the state government would first hand down a three-day warning within which to get the bin after which failure to comply will earn such houses, commercial centres and property total seal up that would attract N200,000 fine.
Ishola maintained that the house-to-house inspection became imperative as a way of curbing indiscriminate refuse disposal on the street and different parts of the state, which was frustrating efforts of the waste managers and licensed operators and particularly the state government beautification efforts.
“The state government has observed abysmal level of compliance with the state environmental laws as people now dump refuse indiscriminately across the state,” Ishola stated.
He lamented that it was unfortunate that despite all the efforts by his Ministry at sensitising the people on compliance with environmental laws particularly on appropriate waste disposal, a larger number of the residents still does not help with the manner in which they dispose off their waste, saying, 1,342 environmental law offenders were arrested and convicted across the state last year and that has not stopped the practice of indiscriminate waste disposal totally.
Speaking further, Ishola disclosed that the state also shut four churches and sanctioned three mosques on the offences of noise pollution, while 64 other cases involving worship centres, commercial places, entertainment centres and others have been amicably resolved after the affected centers were petitioned by concerned members of the public.
“Violators are liable to six months jail term or option of N50, 000 fines. Whoever disregards the seal order on any house would pay N200, 000. About 1, 342 offenders were arrested and prosecuted in 2017, while 124 street traders were arrested with their wares. Unlike in time past, all wares seized from street trading would henceforth be confiscated as directed by the state governor,” the commissioner maintained.
Contributing OYO State Waste Management Authority managing consultant, Mrs Ololade Oresanwo, lamented that despite the existence of environmental laws in the state that should make collection of waste ‘profitable’ for the state and help companies in recycling business have ‘raw materials’ to work with, more than 50 percent of waste generated in the state end up in drainages, flood paths, roads among others.
She decried that there was 10 percent compliance to environmental laws in some areas, with several persons polluting the environment through burning of waste.