Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Ita-Oshin, Abeokuta, is a popular community in the Ogun State capital. Apart from being the first major “terminus” for travellers entering Abeokuta from Lagos-Sango-Ifo-Abeokuta Expressway, it hosts one of the oldest motor parks in Abeokuta, called Ita-Oshin Garage.
It is a busy location as motorists and pedestrians cause traffic frenzy, while commercial activities add to the hustle and bustle of the environment. The attendant bedlam of Ita-Oshin makes it synonymous with Oshodi in Lagos.
Residents, though accustomed to the noisy environment of Ita-Oshin, recently raised the alarm of a looming epidemic. This is as a result of a heap of refuse standing like Rock of Gibraltar at one of the bus stops. The refuse nestles between a petrol station and the entrance of Ebenezer African Church, has not only become an eyesore, but poses health hazard to the residents of the community.
Passersby are confronted with stench oozing from the refuse, which has begun to spread to the main road. This has contributed to the traffic snarl along the road. Commuters who crowd the bus stop for early morning rush are always armed with handkerchiefs to cover their noses to escape the inhaling of the insipid odour emanating from the refuse.
A resident, Babajide Tunde, decried the non-evacuation of the refuse, which he said has become a grotesque scenery in locality. He added that the spot, gradually turning into a dumpster, used to serve as a spot where residents dumped their packed rubbishes for timely evacuation by the waste disposal agency.
He explained that for almost two months, the refuse has been left without evacuation and this led to the heap of refuse. He noted that Ita-Oshin and its environs are under threat of epidemic, if the refuse is not evacuated as soon as possible.
A motor mechanic, Kenny Owodele, blamed the heap of refuse on the indiscipline nature of the residents. He argued that every resident should have a way of disposing his or her rubbish without waiting for the government.
He added that residents should have ceased from dropping refuse at the designated location when it was discovered that the agency in charge stopped the evacuation. He appealed to government to come to the rescue of the residents and save them from imminent environmental hazard.
A shop owner close to the “dump”, Mrs. Ajoke Bajulaiye, blamed the environmental agency for “negligence of duty.” She said before now, refuse bags dropped at the spot were evacuated regularly by the agency. She called on government, both the state and local, to wake up to their responsibilities and duties to the citizens.
A member of the Ebenezer African Church who preferred anonymity told Daily Sun that services on Sundays and other programmes, are always a nightmare for him to attend due to the stench of the refuse. He pointed out that cholera and other diseases could break if solutions are not found to the refuse
A taxi driver plying Ita-Oshin-Kuto route, Jibola Hammed, lamented that the refuse with its attendant horrendous stench, has forced passengers to abandon the bus stop and move further down the road, where drivers jostle for passengers. He pointed out that the environmental hazard must be quickly contained before the situation is escalated.
Senior Sanitary Inspection Officer working with Ewekoro Local Government attributed the non-evacuation of the refuse to transition to new administration. She explained that Ministry of Environment and Ogun State Environmental Protection Agency (OGEPA) normally enlisted private outfits to evacuate to join government agencies to dispose refuse all over the state.
The sanitary officer who did not her mentioned told Daily Sun that government agencies are still collecting and disposing refuse on a daily basis, but the private outfits have since reduced their services, which she said has been responsible refuse in some parts of Abeokuta metropolis.
She, however, said that new government in through the Ministry of Environment will soon start providing dumpsters and mechanical incinerators in densely populated areas such as Ita-Oshin.