WASTE management has been described as an ever-demanding task that requires the cooperation of all and sundry in the society.
Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Anambra State Waste Management Agency (ASWAMA), Amaechi Akaorah made the assertion while interacting with newsmen in Awka, during which he also highlighted the ‘journey so far’ of the agency’s waste management under his watch.
According to him, Anambra is attaining 80 per cent of its vision in waste management, judging from the past and present activities and operation of the agency and its presence in various parts of the state.
While frowning at people’s armchair speculations that ASWAMA is not really doing enough in waste evacuation and management, Mr. Akaorah, who conducted newsmen round the main dumping site of the agency in Awka, showed them heaps of sorted and yet-to-be sorted wastes at the site, covering very larger hectares of land, and imagined what Anambra environmental and neatness status would have been like if those wastes were not gathered from the streets and evacuated to the site by ASWAMA.
He opined that waste management should be everybody’s responsibility, warned against indiscriminate dumping of wastes, which is fast becoming rampant in various parts of the state, even as he advised ndị Anambra to assist the agency to serve them better by properly managing their waste, separating and tying them before discarding them at the designated points, for easy evacuation.
He said, “Indiscriminate dumping of refuse is a big challenge to waste management, not only in Anambra State, but in the whole of Black World, because people’s attitude to waste management is generally poor. They do not seem to differentiate between what should be treated as wastes and what should not be treated as wastes. Plastic, for instance, shouldn’t be treated as waste, but should be treated as resource. But our people do not take that into consideration; They lump everything together because they haven’t learnt about waste separation; and that is very bad attitude to waste management.”
He warned that indiscriminate dumbing of refuse is outlawed and attracts varied degrees of punishments.
Responding to some residents’ complaints that receptacles are far in some streets in Awka metropolitan city, the ASWAMA helmsman attributed the farness to the physical planning of the area, which made it inaccessible and unhealthy to designate litter points at some areas where they are necessary.
While urging people to prioritise their health and environmental well-being by making it a point of duty to properly dispose their wastes at the designated points, rather than disposing them indiscriminately because of the acclaimed farness of receptacles and litter points; Mr. Akaorah, however, noted that, because of the physical planning, his agency is picking wastes gate to gate in such places like Ngozika Housing Estate, Udoka Housing Estate, Rockland, Commissioners Quarters and some other places. He advised the people to take waste management very serious, owing to its numerous consequences, especially when neglected or poorly done.
On waste recycling in the state, Akaorah, who, earlier this year, promised that his agency will introduce recycling in the state’s waste management, revealed that the agency has been keeping the promise by engaging and partnering some waste recycling firms and investors in various aspects of waste management and recycling.
He said, “If you go to Okpuno, where we have the Less Burnt for Cleaner Earth Complex, you will see an investor, Anambra Waste-to-Energy Project that partners with Chikason in th the area of plastic recycling.
“There is also the Zech Industry. Some of the bundles or nets of the plastic you saw when we were entering this dumping site belong to those recyclers.
“We are also inviting… In fact, we have started talking with Aluvia, a dump site management solutions firm based in Lagos. They would be visiting us before the end of this July, to take a look at our dump sites across Anambra. They are also interested in managing our dump sites and digging all the recoverables from the dump sites.”
“You also saw some people when we were coming into this dumping site. They are also interested in papers, cartons and cardboard. So, you can see we are really doing a lot and engaging different firms, with regard to waste management and recycling as promised.”
He revealed that ASWAMA participated in the recent 5 million plastic challenge by Guinness World Record and got over 800,000 plastic bottles (against the 1000,000 they earlier targeted), even though the challenge no longer went as planned due to some reasons.
While noting that Anambra State Government spends about N2bn in waste management annually, Mr. Akaorah regretted that most residents do not pay their sanitation levies, and advised every onye Anambra to see the need in paying sanitation levies, which is only but a small amount of money that could be paid monthly or annually, so as to support the government’s effort in ensuring a clean and healthy environment in the state.
He also appreciated Governor Willie Obiano for the enormous support he has been giving to the agency, as well as other various ways his administration has shown great commitment towards ensuring a healthy and clean Anambra, even as he pledged that his agency will never relent in the discharge of its primary duty of waste management in the state.