By Kate Obande
Abuja – Due to the prevailing indiscriminate refuse dumping, some residents along the Nyanya to Karshi area of the Federal Capital Territory have recommended the establishment of a special task force to tackle the menace.
In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday, the respondents also advocated the imposition of a fine to deter people from the act, stressing that it is inimical to health and the environment.
A correspondent of NAN who visited the area, reports that residents of Nyanya, Karu, Jikwoyi, Kpeyegi, Kurudu and Orozo among others, have converted the median of the entire stretch of Nyanya to Karshi road to dump sites.
The respondents expressed concern over the practice of indiscriminate waste disposal along these areas, noting the median had lost its beauty and is now an eyesore.
According to them, the practice constitutes a health and environmental hazard as the pollution arising from the act, exposes people to known and unknown diseases.
Mr Moses Isah, a business man who resides in Jikwoyi, decried what he called the lack of a sense of responsibility on the part of the people who engage indiscriminate refuse dumping.
`We all know that Nigerians are stubborn; so the way forward is to establish a task force mainly for the purpose of combating this unwanted act and whoever is caught should pay a fine of N2,000.
“I think the FCT should pick a model of discipline from the Lagos State Waste Management Agency and combat this rubbish act because it is really annoying to see a place like Nyanya down to Kurudu with dirt on the road.’’
Isah also blamed the present FCT authorities for not evacuating the refuse regularly as was the case in previous years, adding that the situation worsened since last year.
“The Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) is not doing its job effectively as its officials no longer evacuate the refuse regularly.
“As soon as the present FCT administration came in, they started placing large waste bins beside the road.
“For example, the bend at Nyanya towards Karu, there is a large waste bin there that has now turned the dual lane road into a single lane.
“The other one is at Jikwoyi and Kpeyegi Expressway and it’s always on fire, causing environmental hazard for motorists and the entire neighbourhood.
“These bins encourage people to keep dumping refuse by the road side,’’ Isah said.
In the same vein, Mr Mathew Idoko, a resident of Kurudu area accused the government of negligence.
According to him, the Abuja Municipal Area Council and the FCTA are not judiciously utilising the revenue they generate from traders and residents of the affected areas.
“I understand that residents and traders pay a token monthly for waste disposal but government agencies never live up to their responsibilities of disposing these wastes properly.
“This negligence leaves the people with no other option than to dispose their waste themselves, leading to what we see on the Nyanya to Karshi median.
“If immediate action is not taken by government, the dirt will cover the entire road as is the case in some parts already as you can see.
“And it will further cause lots of traffic to road users while at the same time polluting the entire area.’’
He also urged FCT authorities to set up a special environmental task force to address the menace.
A trader in Karu Market, Mr Chukwuemeka Eze, who admitted dumping his refuse on the median, said that the concrete served as the collation point from where the relevant agency evacuates the garbage.
According to him, the refuse disposal officials cannot enter the market and start moving from shop to shop to collect waste.
He said that traders in the market had no other alternative other than the median.
“If proper arrangements or dump sites are created, I will gladly go and dump my waste at the designated point,’’ Eze said.
He further advised the AEPB to intensify efforts in addressing the challenge to avoid the outbreak of an epidemic resulting from indiscriminate refuse disposal in the area.
Also commenting, Mr Abel Raphael, who lives in Karu, described the situation in the area as unhealthy and called for adequate arrangements for timely and regular waste evacuation.
Raphael further suggested that AMAC should embark on an enlightenment campaign on the dangers of the haphazard waste disposal and its impact on health and the environment.
He stressed the need for the enforcement of environmental laws and adequate penalty on whoever violated them.