Residents bemoan Abuja stinking status
The rising profile of Abuja as one of Africa’s conference destinations is posing serious environmental and sanitation risks to residents as hotels and other forms of accommodations spring up daily within residential areas overstretching already installed social facilities.
Residents who spoke to Daily Trust alleged that the sewage lines suffered the most as hoteliers in connivance with officials of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) divert them to residential lines.
The Abuja central sewage system operates on two main lines; one is dedicated to residential buildings while the other is meant for hotels and other high waste generating organizations, attracting different connection charges.
Within Adisa Estate in Durumi District, residents said that connection of emerging hotels in the area to the residential sewage lines has resulted in sewage blockage and bleeding manholes on the streets which discharge waste into peoples’ houses as well as flood the streets leaving in its wake foul smell that is gradually becoming a common phenomenon on Abuja streets.
Mr Benson Igah, a resident of Adisa Estate said that the sight of the bleeding manhole is not only humiliating and disturbing but constitutes a health risk to people living in the area.
“As a community we have made efforts to get AEPB to force the hotels springing up in this area every now and then to do the proper thing but we have not seen any change. Things still remain the same,” he said.
Another resident, Madam Eke said that the inability of AEPB to enforce its laws was responsible for the sewage blockage and bleeding manhole in the area.
“AEPB workers are busy chasing youths and women hawking one thing or the other in the city and leaving their responsibility of policing the environment. Hotels are built in this place and we discovered that in their bid to cut cost, they connect their sewage to the small line meant for residential buildings and when they start their operations, the volume of waste they discharge will be more than what the line can accommodate, thereby forcing it to block or bleed,” Eke said.
At Wuse 2, Garki and other parts of the city, the story remained the same as new hotels or massive shopping complexes coming up daily continue to add to the suffering of residents who now have to pay technicians and labourers to fix their blocked sewages or rechannel the bleeding pipes from public view.
Mr Charles Okafor, an Abujabased estate developer said that the inability of AEPB to strictly adhere to laid down guidelines was responsible for the numerous challenges that residents of the city faced.
“We have come a long way and ensuring that all facilities work as expected in an emerging city like Abuja is difficult. The AEPB is trying but the workers let down their guard when it concerns high profile clients,” he added.
Joe Ukairo, the Head, media and outreach unit of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) while reacting to sewage blockage in the city said it is caused by human and natural events. He said when clothing materials and other large materials are flushed down toilets into the sewage lines, “they all; get hooked and will continue to arrest other large objects until the waste or debris gathered totally stop flow of liquid waste.
He also said rainwater washes pet bottles and sand (silt) into the sewer line, which blocked the line after a period.
“That is why the central sewer line should be de-silted from time to time to dislodge the sand and other debris that may eventually blick the line if not removed.
“The 800km FCT sewer line was last de-silted in 2010 hence it is overdue,” he said adding that efforts are on to de-silt it “as soon as possible.”
Ukairo also debunked allegations of two sewage lines in the territory. He said there is only one central sewage line transporting all liquid waste to the board’s state of the art wastewater treatment plant in Wupa.
He explained that the cost for a building is arrived at using the number of sanitary wares available in the building ruling out illegalities in the billing, “We detect an illegally connected building through monitoring by the various district officers,” he said.