… Heaps of refuse take over streets
By Dennis Mernyi
Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja, has come under threats of an epidemic, no, thanks to failure of the relevant authorities to clear heaps of refuse on most streets.
Checks revealed that overflowing refuse dumps and blocked drainages as well as spilling sewage and broken water pipes have become common features in many streets and even some of the highways in recent months, thereby posing avoidable environmental hazards to residents of the city and the environs.
Residents of most of the affected areas stated that they had made several appeals to the FCT authorities on the development to no avail.
From Karu to Nyanya, for example, overgrown weeds and heaps of wastes have taken over many roads.
Similarly, most of the designated waste dumps have exceeded their installed capacities without evacuation or provision of additional ones.
Individual efforts by residents to burn the wastes have often failed because the refuse have become wet and, therefore, fire-resistant due to the rains and water from nearby blocked drainages and burst sewage pipes.
The Karu- Jukwoyi- Karshi Expressway and parts of Kubwa are not left out. Already, the two- lane expressway has been reduced to less than one by heaps of refuse.
Many drainages and sewage lines in Kubwa and the suburbs have also been blocked with faeces and other solid wastes that spill into some of the roads.
Confusion reigns in some of the roads as motorists and commercial motorcycle operators (Okada riders) as well as wheelbarrow pushers struggle for right of way on the remaining portion of the roads.
Often, the situation causes gridlocks and waste of time on the roads.
Another source of possible threat to people’s health, Abuja Metro investigation revealed, are the operations of petty traders who hawk their wares as well as roadside restaurants and fast food joints along the filthy streets and highways despite the stench from the nearby dumps.
Mr. Odey Pius Ofy, a resident of Jukwoyi, decried the unhealthy condition in which people live in the affected areas.
He stated that until about four months ago, authorities of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) and Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) as well as Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) ensured the evacuation of refuse from the streets.
He noted that the situation has become worse with the rainy season and the consequent humid weather that make burning of wastes difficult.
“We are worried here because the whole environment is polluted with stench and we are stuffed here. All appeals to the authorities to evacuate the wastes fell on deaf ears.”, he said.
Another resident of Karu, a densely populated area in the FCT, Malam Dufu Kaloma, called on the Abuja Environmental Protection Agency (AEPA) to quickly clean up the area and save people from avoidable epidemic.
“We live with wastes. For several months, no one has come here to evacuate the refuse from various homes. As residents, we do not have evacuation trucks. We pay for these services monthly, yet we are still living with the wastes. It is hazardous. We are increasingly becoming apprehensive about the dangers of our health”, he stated.
A civil servant, Mr. Itiza Ukpi, wondered why the authorities could fail in their responsibilities to clean up the environment and urged the civil society organisations (CSOs) in the city to take up the matter with the authorities.
“I think government and the FCT authorities have failed the people. The civil society groups should stand up against these. This is inhuman. The environment we live in is not healthy”, he stated.