WITH only a handful rains this year, many roads and streets of cities in Nigeria, particularly Anambra State are littered with dirt of all sorts of debris. It is no longer news that some parts of Anambra State are wrecked by flood during rainy season as a result of blocked drainages.
It has become very disheartening because despite government efforts and persuasions of the people to desist from indiscriminate dumping of refuse, a lot of people and households, especially operators in markets remain adamant and still dump all sorts of refuse including body wastes and dungs on sewages and waterways. They even erect buildings anywhere they like not minding whether they block waterways or expose themselves and their communities to danger.
Fully aware that timely opening up and rehabilitation of drainage channels are radical interventions in controlling periodic floods during rainy seasons, Anambra State Government, under the leadership of Governor Willie Obiano, before the commencement of 2018 rainy season, introduced ‘Neighbour to Neighbour Desiltation of Drainages’ where every resident of the state was expected to desilt the drainages around his living or business area.
JUST last year, the government also launched the desilting of drainages in urban and suburban centres of the state which was flagged-off at Eke Awka Market in Awka South local Council.
THE effort was not only to demonstrate the government’s commitment to ensuring flood control, good and healthy homes and streets but to enhance environmental aesthetic and give road users easy passage. The model, apart from preventing flooding, involves making households where the refuse and sewages that block free flow of water channels account for their misdemeanor. Hence, households will be driving the wheel of flood control by desilting or clearing drainages and waterways at regular intervals.
THERE is no doubt that if people are serious with desilting and clearing of drainages in their areas; it will not only prevent flooding but reflect on people’s health. This is because bacteria and disease vectors like mosquitoes, rats and other disease-carrying inhabitants of garbage will hardly find anywhere to hide or bred in clean drainages.
Government equally created another agency known as Anambra State Drainage and Forest Preservation Agency last year in addition to the existing Anambra State Waste Management Agency (ASWAMA) and Operation Clean Up Anambra (OCHA Brigade), among others, just to ensure that the state is clean.
WHAT is more worrisome about the people’s attitude to the environment, particularly as it concerns blocking of drainages is that the same people who perpetrate that act will send ‘save our souls’ messages to government and post all manner of messages and pictures on social media to prove that they are being neglected when their area is flooded . They will then remember that they have a government but forget that they failed to do their part despite governments’ warnings and efforts.
NATIONAL Light believes that it is time high people realised that government cannot do everything for them.
RELEVANT government ministries and agencies should therefore, seriously push against indiscriminate dumping of refuse and improper planning of cities. They should as a matter of urgency, begin to resolutely remove buildings on flood channels and drainages.
NOT withstanding that government should act resolutely on the development, stakeholders, particularly leaders of town unions, religious bodies, markets, traditional rulers and the media should not get tired of sensitising people on the importance of prompt clearing of water channels especially now that the rains are building up. Offenders should be strictly handled in line with the provisions of Anambra State Public Health Law 2006, among other relevant statutes.
MEANWHILE, Ministry of Environment and relevant agencies should be carrying out regular street by street investigation and detection of silted drainages to clear them or urge owners of the odd sites to clear them or face sanction.