Residents of area councils in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are presently battling with refuse in their midst. A visit to some of the area council, including Kuje, Gwagwalad, Bwari, AMAC and others shows a poor state of refuse disposal in all the area council.
For instance a visit to Karmo community in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) reveals that many of the residents simply dump their refuse in the available gutters. This attitude has in no small measure contributed to the blocking of drainage systems in the area.
It is also a common sight to see residents waiting for the rains to fall for them to pick whatever refuse they have gathered and dump them on the flood. This has also contributed in the spreading of diseases and other bacteria in the community.
Even in other satellite settlements in the area council, such as Jiwa, Gwagwa, Jikwoyi and othercommunities, the story is the same as residents simply gather whatever refuse they have and simply give them to agabbage collector who disposes them into the rivers in the area. While sometimes the refuse a gathered at the road side into heaps, blocking major roads.
A resident of Kpehegyi near Jikwoyi in AMAC, John Baba told LEADERSHIP that the last time men of the environmental department from the area council came to clear the waste in there is about a month ago. He stated that the handle to the waste bin is broken so they could not evacuate the waste. Since then, people have been dropping refuse on the ground instead of the waste can.
Another resident of the area, Idoko John said he cannot remember when last the waste was collected for disposal. According to him the waste collectors came but did not evacuate any waste from the area.
Also a resident of Angwan Gede in Jikwoyi also in AMAC, Paul said for over a month, the waste in the area has not been collected. He added that he does not see the need for refuse bin that will not be emptied when filled, as it creates more problems to the community than solving it.
“As it is now, the waste collection point has become a problem on its own. Early morning we cannot stay here because of the offensive odour emanating from the refuse can,” he said.
Paul disclosed that the people of the area rather prefer to dump refuse on the ground or road divider since there is a truck that comes to collect refuse heaped along the road.
Paul added that, residents too are not helping the government to have a clean and healthy environment for them.
“Many residents do not like to follow simple instructions. If you bring refuse and the bin is filled, you should return it to your house and then wait for the team that collects the waste and give it to them when they come. But instead of waiting, people prefer to dump the refuse on the ground indiscriminately,” he said.
A resident of Jikwoyi Aisha whose shop is directly facing the refuse can told LEADERSHIP that she had gone to complain to the officials for them to come and relocate the refuse bin, but the person in charge told her that the truck is in bad shape and cannot be removed.
Only recently, residents of Gwagwalada area council have to cry out over heaps of refuse currently threatening the health and well-being of the people.
Some of the residents decried the non-evacuation of the refuse, saying it exposes them to health hazard. Residents who spoke to newsmen said that the usual practice in the area was that they will dump the refuse at a designated spot, by the road side only for it to be evacuated by the area council at the end of the week. They however frowned that week in week out the refuse have remained at the spot without anybody evacuating them.
In Kubwa the indiscriminate dumping of refuse into streams and rivers has continued in the area like a tradition. Our correspondent who visited the area observed that it has become a common sight to see refuse collectors as they stand on top of bridges and empty stack of waste into streams.
Speaking on the situation recently, head of the department of environmental health, in the area council, Mr. Haruna Labaran, explained that plans were underway to introduce a waste-to-wealth programme in the area council. He said that the waste recycling programme would cover Ushafa, Dutse, Kubwa, Dei-Dei, Dawaki and Mpape satellite towns. Labaran stated that the area council had designated some areas as dumpsites for waste collectors, warning that those who flouted environmental laws would be prosecuted.
LEADERSHIP also gathered that there is a serious cold war increasingly steeping between the authorities of Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and the six Area Councils in the territory over who is saddled with responsibility of the evacuation of refuse in the councils.
Whereas some council officials have blamed the FCT Administration for non-evacuation of refuse in the area councils, the administration has insisted that it is the constitutional responsibility of the councils to clean up the environment within their respective domains.
Recently residents in Abattoir and Yaba villages of Abaji area council experienced a flood which led to loss of property. The flood was attributed to blocked drainage system as a result of refuse dumped in various drainage systems.
Interview with residents in Abattoir and Yaba villages revealed the poor sanitary situation in both areas. Abulrahman Ajiya, chairman of Abaji area council ona visits to the affected areas noted that environmental sanitation in the communities is poor, because most people in the areas have contributed in no positive way to the blockage of channels that would have prevented the flood.
Ajiya said he will make sure to pu a committee in place to sensitie the residents of these areas on the need to stop dumping of refuse into the drainage systems.The supervisory council in charge of health and environment in AMAC, Hon. Usman Karshi told our reporter that waste management is very expensive and that government is putting in modalities to ensure prompt waste collection and management.
He however lamented the attitude of residents of Nyanya along Karshi road who dump refuse indiscriminately and urged them to desist from such act.
Usman disclosed that government is looking at exploring better options of waste management to ensure a healthy environment, adding that some of the waste collection points were contracted out to people during the SURE-P and called on residents to be patient with the government.