Res­i­dents be­moan Abuja stink­ing sta­tus

Daily Trust - - ENVIRONMENT - By Alex Abutu

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.

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