WITH the outset of rainy season, the drains by the streets and roads are heavily stuffed. Hence there is need to excavate the sewers, gutters and waterways and remove accumulated heaps of refuse dumped by nature as well as misguided and unscrupulous people. For the umpteenth time Anambra State Government has warned residents and citizens to avoid dumping refuse in the drains.
UNFORTUNATELY, the repeated and timely exhortation of government has not been adhered to due to enshrined primitive mindset of some people. The result of the mindless dumping of refuse in the drainages is the obstruction of free-flow of flood or blockage which leaves the float with no alternative than to spill over to the roads, streets, public and private facilities.
ASIDE the damages and huge wreckage the floods cause, spilling of water and flood on the roads and streets lead to scalping, wearing out the edges of the roads and eventual dilapidation and disuse of such public infrastructure. In other words, newly reconstructed roads that cost the government billions of funds are subjected to early development of pot-holes and craters which occasion dilapidation thus constituting death trap for motorists.
THE excuses given by the people dumping the refuse indiscriminately are multifarious. They cite the inability of refuse disposal agencies of both local and urban settlements to take cognisance of all the nooks and crannies of towns as well as the poor state of the roads and which the refuse disposal vehicles find difficult to navigate and shortage of customised receptacles. Other reasons they give comprise the shortage of customised refuse disposal vehicles and inadequate operational staff with appropriate kit for work.
IN A bid to get the sewages and water-ways cleared every rainy season, Anambra Government has been embarking on special drainage desilting programs within for the past four years despite appeals to people and owners of commercial ventures to do same to stem health hazards and environmental disasters.
AS A matter of fact, the third phase of the desilting program, tagged ‘Neighbour to Neighbour Desilting of Drainages’ in which households and business premises are expected to desilt drainages around their domains is still ongoing.
IT IS interesting to note that people and corporate entities in some places comply with government’s urge but after the excavation of the debris, heaps of rubbish are abandoned on top of the flood channels only for the rains to come again to flush them into the drainages.
THE FACT that people are not even well educated on the right authorities of government to contact regarding issues of environmental sanitation and issues relating to drainages is not helping matters. This is because the statutes connected to such issues appears tricky as things like debris, sand or anything in the drainages appear to be exclusively under the Anambra State Drainage and Forest Preservation Agency. Once they are excavated out of the gutters and left on top of the land, it appears, the rubbish becomes the responsibility of Anambra State Waste Management Agency (ASWAMA). Both agencies are under the Ministry of Environment. The general sanitation of markets and others are taken care of by the local government authorities who are under a different ministry, the Ministry of Local Government Affairs. So between the Environment Ministry and the Local Government one, there could be gray areas of who is in charge of one task force or the other in this issue.
THE unpalatable resultant effect is that the debris heaped at the edges of the gutters and waterways are someone’s responsibility but when they are eventually pushed back into the gutters, another body becomes in charge. Hence, one activity may reverse the strenuous efforts of the people who did the initial labour of cleaning the ducts.
PROVIDING trucks, wheel barrows and other vital implements to people who scoop the gutters and waterways by all relevant authorities will help. Also, more customised refuse disposal vehicles or tippers to evacuate the debris that have been excavated will be resourceful.
ANOTHER way to ginger the people to be exacting their energy and hiring labourers to clear the debris in clogging sewages in front of their residences and shops is putting some contests around the exercise.
NATIONAL Light aligns with the state and local governments in their appeals to people to stop the habit of dumping refuse into gutters and water channels. There is need for more provisions for the refuse disposal agencies to enable them grapple with the ever increasing refuse disposal challenges in the urban, semi-urban and even rural communities where erosion has continued to pose threat to lives and property.