Our Health correspondent
Residents and motorists in Anambra State are going through challenges as a result of the mountainous refuse dumps that have taken over major roads and streets of the state.
This situation is also worsened by the current rainfalls which have resulted in floods scattering the wastes on the roads, thereby causing delays for both vehicular and non-vehicular movements.
Our correspondent, who went round major cities such as Onitsha, Nnewi, Nnobi, Obosi, Ekwulobia, Obodo-Ukwu, Aguata and some parts of Awka on Saturday, observed that the refuse dumps in these areas had started oozing suffocating stench, while people covered their nostrils.
Clogged gutters were seen everywhere and refuse was recklessly dumped in some of the streets as it was gathered that the relevant authorities have not attended to the refuse for over three months now.
The heavy rains on Saturday did not also help matters on the Onitsha-Owerri road, as heavy floods dragged the waste to the road.
The refuse covered the lane leading to the Upper Iweka axis by the Enamel bus stop.
As a result, vehicles coming to and fro Onitsha had to share only one lane at the Enamel axis, thereby stretching a less than five-minute drive to Upper Iweka to over an hour.
The situation at the Nkpor road by Limca bus stop was very pathetic as the refuse had covered the whole portion of the road leading to the People’s Club Street, a situation that has forced the residents to walk on the refuse as they go to their various destinations, vehicles cannot also enter into the street.
A resident of the area identified as Mrs Josephine Uche, lamented that the situation had forced the people of the area to start relocating, adding that residents had resorted to shutting their doors and windows permanently in order to avoid the bad smell.
Uche lamented that despite the fact that residents paid waste bills every month, the waste managers had not attended to the waste for over three months now.
A transporter, who plies the Obodo-Ukwu axis in the Ogbaru Local Government Area, Mr Ogbonna Awuka, said there had been very poor management of waste in the state in recent times, especially in the semi-urban centres, lamenting that “mountainous” heaps of refuse adorning the streets were almost chasing people away on a daily basis.
“This just to create room for epidemic; the rains are here and it is a period where epidemic manifests very fast. Clearing of refuse is not rocket science, I wonder why they have allowed it to degenerate into this level,” Awuka said.
However, the Commissioner for Environment, Felix Odimegwu, told our Correspondent that plans were in place to tackle the refuse problems, stressing that various measures had been adopted and that their implementations would soon start.
“The issue of waste is surmountable and we urged the people to be patient as the government is working round the clock to ensure competent organisations are engaged to handle the situation,” he added.