Rid­ding Nasarawa of en­vi­ron­men­tal waste “

Daily Trust - - ENVIRONMENT - By Al­lah­nana At­tah

Clean­li­ness is next to god­li­ness,” so goes a pop­u­lar say­ing that ev­ery lip is fa­mil­iar with. Yet this ideal is put into prac­tice in the op­po­site. There is no deny­ing the hard and fac­tual truth that the streets of Nasarawa State are lit­tered with waste which or­di­nar­ily should not be the case. Take a trip round the city of Lafia, the state cap­i­tal, and you will be sorely dis­ap­pointed that the streets are any­thing but clean.

The filth that adorn the streets of Lafia and other towns in the state will re­veal to you that we are yet to come to terms with the open­ing quote in this piece. From the fa­mous dump heap be­tween the burial grounds, along Al-Makura Street in Lafia, one is left to won­der whether this de­picts the very great care we have for our de­parted brethren whom we al­ways pray they “Rest in Peace and Filth”.

If our “con­cern” is so much this way, what ex­pla­na­tion do we have for the other parts of the town and even other cities where sim­i­lar scenes are recorded?

The re­spon­si­bil­ity of a clean en­vi­ron­ment is not that of govern­ment alone. Af­ter all, who is govern­ment with­out the people that it gov­erns? This task is en­trusted to all stake­hold­ers as it shows the “god­li­ness” in us.

In­ter­est­ingly, ev­ery Nige­rian pro­fesses a great faith in an “Almighty”, thus is ready to “fight” for” HIM”, and yet never in tune with the ba­sics or­dained for man to per­form in ful­fill­ment of the Almighty’s ex­pec­ta­tions from com­mon mor­tals like us. We shud­der less when waste from our homes are thrown into wa­ter ways as the clouds gather, ex­pect­ing that the rain wa­ter will wash these away, to where we do not know.

Mother luck usu­ally smiles on us any­time the clouds bring down heav­enly bless­ings, typ­i­fied in the show­ers that come down to clear the de­bris dumped into the gut­ters which serve as wa­ter ways. The harm that ac­com­pa­nies the rain in terms of floods and dis­per­sal of these wastes is never our con­cern.

The stench that oozes from the waste in the event of the rains fail­ing to shower down is bet­ter imag­ined, and worst of all, the dis­eases as­so­ci­ated are never a thing to worry about. That these wastes are washed into streams where so many Nige­ri­ans de­pend on as their sources of wa­ter should at­tract some con­cern, but alas we all fail as “our broth­ers’ keep­ers”.

The cheer­ing news that govern­ment of Nasarawa State re­cently pro­cured two com­pactors for the clear­ing of refuse, and has since de­ployed same to the Greater Karu axis, is a sooth­ing re­lief to people of that area and the state, gen­er­ally.

That the Al-Makura-led ad­min­is­tra­tion has em­barked on a real­is­tic and proac­tive ap­proach to waste dis­posal and man­age­ment is wor­thy of ap­pre­ci­a­tion as it shows a prac­ti­cal com­mit­ment to a canker­worm that has re­fused to leave us.

Waste dis­posal and man­age­ment, par­tic­u­larly in the Karu axis and other lo­cal govern­ment ar­eas have as­sumed such a her­culean hur­dle that pre­ced­ing ad­min­is­tra­tions only scratched the prob­lem on the sur­face.

Any­one who is fa­mil­iar with the Keffi –Abuja ex­press way, par­tic­u­larly from Auta Balefi- Masaka, Karu to Mararraba, must have got­ten used to see­ing heaps of refuse dec­o­rat­ing the high­way pave­ments and the shoul­ders of the road.

Ef­forts are made on a daily ba­sis by the Nasarawa Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment Board (NUDB) to clear these, but the board is overwhelmed with the level of wastes that soon ap­pear. The story is this way; clear the road of refuse by sun­set and be­fore dawn, the heaps re­turn as if noth­ing was done just less than twelve hours back. The ex­pe­ri­ence of the NUDB staff as well as the Task Force set up un­der Group Cap­tain Tanko Auta (Rtd) to clear these wastes dur­ing the ten­ure of Aliyu Akwe Doma will suf­fice here for those presently sad­dled with this re­spon­si­bil­ity.

While not sound­ing alarmist, we are con­cerned that the clean­li­ness of the Greater Karu, which is one of the hub cen­tres for work­ers and other people who earn their daily liveli­hoods in Abuja, the Federal Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory, is left en­tirely on the shoul­ders of the host state, Nasarawa.

The greater per­cent­age of taxes that ought to be paid by work­ers of the Federal Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory goes into federal cof­fers while these tax pay­ers are left to scram­ble for the scarce ameni­ties pro­vided by Nasarawa State govern­ment.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tions from the state have been made in dif­fer­ent forms and quar­ters for as­sis­tance from the federal govern­ment, but we are sure noth­ing much has come from that way.

That Nasarawa State govern­ment is poised to com­bat the refuse heaps which have come to give the state bad name is highly com­mend­able. These com­pactors will do the people of the state great ser­vice only when the streets are cleared of the refuse. This im­plies that refuse must be col­lected at cen­tres eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble to the com­pactors.

At­tah con­trib­uted this ar­ti­cle from Lafia, Nasarawa State.

Refuse collection in progress in Maraba.

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