Ridding Nasarawa of environmental waste “
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.