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EDITORIAL

Citizens’ collaboration needed in fight against filth in Anambra

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CLEAN environment is one of the key policies of Anambra State Government under the administration of Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo.

SINCE March 17, 2022, when the current government came on board, measures have been  evolved to tackle the menace of filth across the cities and suburbs  in the state. The task has been very challenging, given that government wants to achieve this without adding huge burden on the shoulders of ndi Anambra.

UNTIL the emergence of this government, citizens groan over huge levies they are subjected to for refuse disposal  .  Yet, big dumps of refuse pervade different points in the streets. Suffice it to say that the payment they made for their refuse disposals did not match the services they got.

BEYOND refuse levies, ndi Anambra have bitterly complained of excessive taxation imposed on them by different agents of government or those supposedly acting on behalf of government.

SURPRISINGLY, the revenues accruable to government under this guise fall far short of what was drawn from the public. This explains why Governor Soludo suspended all revenue collections in the state immediately he assumed office as governor; relieving all supposed revenue collection agents of their duties and opting for a better structured revenue generation system that meets the aspirations of both the people and government of Anambra State.

WITHIN just one month, the state was literally overwhelmed with filth. Major cities like Onitsha, Nnewi, including Awka Capital Territory, had mountains of refuse to contend with. The government immediately hit the ground running in its efforts to clear the accumulated dumps of refuse seen everywhere.

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WHILE the garbage  menace is still plaguing the environs, the state is still keen on the task of clearing them promptly.

CONCERNS are already being expressed that some agencies of government are yet to properly key into the directions of Governor Soludo or may be lacking in the requisite skill and capacity to fly at the same place with the governor. Whatever the side of the views, the  Ministry of Environment has a huge task at this point in time

FOR those who did not understand the quantum of challenges inherited by the present government, the heap of refuse in Ochanja Market area in Onitsha, accumulated for over a six-month period. It  is left for imagination how that would have stretched the  patience of the populace.

APPARENTLY, efforts so far made by the new government are yet to meet the expectations of critiques, especially, given that refuse dumps are still visible in different collection centres but nobody would have expected the heaps of rubbish to vanish overnight..

ANAMBRA State has an estimated population of six million people according to 2022 population projection. The state also has an  average of  four persons per household, according to Africapolis 2022 survey. 

The  state also  lacks in landmass as it is second least land space among Nigerian states but with a high population density. Consequently, refuse generation in the state is high in line with her fast  growing population amid lack of land space. Unfortunately, facilities have not been proportionately provided over the years to match  growing demands. So, who would blame the newly installed government for the accumulated problems, more so, when it is tackling the challenges head on?

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WHILE citizens leverage on a government desirous of well-being of the people,  they  should also be ready to cooperate with the government in pursuing set goals and achieving results collectively. The need for clean environment should be the responsibility of all people and not the government alone.

GIVEN that the state belongs to all and good environment is for the people to savour, collective contributions of individuals, groups, communities and institutions cannot be more needed any time other  than now. Communities can evolve a system of controlling excess waste dumps in their environs that will complement government’s efforts.

It is worrisome that many drains are begging for de-silting, yet people cry of flood water confronting them. These drains are in front of people’s houses and compounds. What is the role of citizens or do they not have any responsibility of keeping and maintaining their environment? Should everything be left for the government? Citizens  should do well to clear their drains around their neighbourhood at least.

VOLUNTEERS are not ruled out in this moment of refuse invasion. It is apt to note at this point that  the shortfall in facilities and manpower to fight the environmental degradations and pollution could be complemented with citizens’ support.

NDI ANAMBRA should not allow their government to be stampeded into the old system that gave contractors a lot of  rooms to  exploit  the populace.

THE government is keen on enabling a habitable environment as much as converting waste to wealth. Good sensitisation on waste management culture is necessary at this point to carry all citizens along.

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NOW  that house-to-house refuse collection system is being mulled by the government, those saddled with the responsibility should brace themselves to meet expectations.

NATIONAL Light believes that achieving a cleaner environment through organised refuse disposal and evacuation system is possible when citizens call it their duty and make it a priority.

IT IS equally our belief that the situation does not call for rhetorics or baseless criticism from persons who want to gain the system or score cheap points but a call for practical involvement in sharing ideas that will bring lasting solution to challenges posed by  filth in the state.

RE-TWEAKING the system requires that adequate workforce should be recruited in the sector and citizens sensitised to pay their taxes and levies in order to help government meet the people’s expectations in their responsibilities.

UNEMPLOYED youths can be  made to contribute to the state through   community service in the sector. At least, some measures of discipline will be won back from the errant prone youths when they pay for their misconducts through  environment-oriented community services to the state.

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