Waste Disposal In Akure
WASTE disposal problem in Akure, the Ondo State capital has become nightmarish in recent time that needs concerted effort to tackle. This is more so because Akure is the capital of Ondo State and will, to a very great extent, be used as a yardstick to gauge the level of our environmental sanity and sense of aesthetics or otherwise of the people of Ondo State.
THESE days, despite the strenuous efforts being put in place by the present Akeredolu administration to ensure that Ondo State, especially Akure, which is the cynosure of eyes of visiting local and international dignitaries and of course potential investors, wears a new and befitting look with the hygiene of the people given high premium, one is saddened seeing wastes and refuse on our streets. The heaps now constitute a threat to drainage and roads, thus causing destruction of physical structures and wastage of financial resources of the people.
OF course the money that ought to have been directed towards other productive measures are either spent on desilting of blocked drains. The dangerous resultant effects of the bad waste disposal problem in Akure are too numerous. People easily get sick through the harmful organisms that multiply themselves rapidly in dirty environment, thus making people sick. Sick people cannot contribute optimally to the development of their community but rather become liabilities to drain the already strained and lean purse of the government.
THE recent outbreak of Lassa fever in some parts of the country, Ondo State inclusive, had its genesis traced to filthy environments which serve as an incubator for epidemic diseases. And Lassa fever is just one of the dreaded deadly diseases which filthiness “donate to us”. We cannot continue like this. The current idea of once in a month clean up sanitation exercise is not enough to face the problem at hand.
MUCH as the essence of this editorial piece is not to apportion blame, one cannot solve the problem of waste disposal in Akure without drawing the attention of government to the dereliction of duties by waste disposal companies hired by government.
THE marching order already given to the waste companies by government is salutary and long over due.
GOVERNMENT should be more proactive and plan ahead to accommodate the growing population. The people saddled with the physical planning of our cities, especially Akure, should make sure that layouts make provisions for public toilets in strategic and conspicuous places where people can access them freely or with tokens that can easily be afforded by people. As a remedial action for those houses in Akure metropolis, the landlords should be made to compulsorily build a toilet in their houses.
THE government should declare a moratorium or time frame within which all the old houses should have toilet facilities should be given to the people after which scary and punitive sanctions will be imposed or such houses be seized. Still government should ensure that its erring officials approving structures and layouts found to be detrimental to the people on the long run should be seriously disciplined, if only to serve as deterrent to others. The Hope is of the belief that reintroduction of the Sanitary inspector of those days, with more encouragements will help the waste disposal system in Akure. They will help more, especially in the area of the poor human wastes disposal. Government can also provide dumping sites outside the Akure metropolis where refuse collecting trucks can dispose their “wares”. Encouraging private companies, with enticing incentives to go into refuse disposal will further help make Akure cleaner and provide job opportunities. Here, governments should make sure their entitlements are promptly given to them promptly so as to avoid the usual unpleasant sights of wastes littering Akure streets whenever these workers down tools.
PEOPLE should also be sensitized, through radio and television media and of course the local town criers to take the issues relating to waste disposal as a very important matter as “health is wealth” People found involving themselves in open defecations should be severely punished. It is not a thing of pride to be ranked next to India in open defecations. Even some trained animals don’t practice that.
THE HOPE believes that since government, with its ever growing commitments and dwindling revenue, cannot do everything alone. Hence it will be very ideal for government to seek individual and corporate bodies’ assistance in the pursuance of a cleaner Akure. They can help by donating custom made vehicles for refuse disposal or sponsoring clean up campaigns. The concept of turning waste to wealth should be revitalized preferably by encouraging private entrepreneurs to utilize the waste products from some areas of human endeavours or companies to raw materials that will be processed and turn into money.
HAVING known that health is wealth and considering the importance of Akure as the cynosure of eyes to mirror Ondo State in the mind of the world, giving it a better look through better disposal of its waste should be given priority, and the time to start that is now.