From Judex OkoroCalabar
In In the beginning, Calabar, the capital of Cross River State, was called the People’s Paradise because of its green and clean environment. But suddenly it turned into a city of garbage and waste. Also known as ‘Come and Live and Relax’, Calabar is now ‘Come and Live with Garbage and Waste’.
The city of Canaan, which used to flow with “milk and honey” and was full of happiness and delight, now overflows with piles of garbage and waste in every corner. Residents can no longer live comfortably in their homes due to the stench emanating from the garbage piles.
Since Professor Ben Ayade took over the mantle of the state in 2015, paradise seems to have disappeared. Neat greenery and clean lawns, which add beauty and color to the environment, are gradually disappearing. Nigeria’s once number one tourist destination is losing its prime position in the hospitality industry as its aesthetics that are the envy of other nations fade away. Visitors can no longer come and relax in the increasingly polluted environment.
Inspections by Daily Sun between Friday, July 11, 2022, and Sunday, revealed more than 30 piles of garbage scattered across the metropolis. The most affected streets are New Airport Road (nine dumps), Ekpo Abasi (three dumps), Chamley (three dumps), Mbukpa Market, Inyang, White House (three dumps), Palm Street, Atu, Mayne Avenue (three ) rubbish heaps) and Amika Utuk with Uwanse axis, all in Calabar South.
Some streets in Calabar municipality were also covered with garbage. These include Amika Layout, International Preparatory School, Asari Iso Street, Eta Agbor Street and Satellite Campus, Marian Hill, Ediba axis, Asari Iso area, Winners Road behind Akhari Hotels, Lemna Road and 8 Mile axis. The Lemna Road dump site has become a health problem and residents are calling for intervention to save the community.
Markets have not been left out as they have been turned into temporary dumping grounds. The famous markets of Watt, Marian, Mbukpa as well as Atakpa have been invaded by a lot of waste. Traders are slowly adapting to the culture of displaying their wares and other consumables on top of the waste, oblivious to the stench emanating from the polluted environment.
Disturbed by this ugly development, residents of the Calabar metropolis have cried out for help over the piles of garbage that have gradually taken over the city. They have expressed concern over the level of filth and polluted environment in the past few months, which could lead to an epidemic within the city if the government does not find a sustainable way of waste disposal and evacuation management.
According to the residents, the town, hitherto known for its pleasant and spacious environment, has been greatly weakened, especially during the administrations of former governors Donald Duke and Senator Liyel Imoke, when trees and flowers were planted everywhere.
Environmental expert Edem Nyong noted that improper disposal and management of waste can lead to air, soil and water pollution as it can clog drains, breeding grounds for insects and transmission of diseases such as cholera, malaria, dengue fever, respiratory can create water. infections and asthma. According to him, these are the main health problems related to polluted environment and improper waste management.
A resident of Amika Utuk Street, Blessing Inyang, 37, decried the undue delay in the recent dumping of waste, saying Calabar city was never as dirty as it was under Ayade.
Blessing, a teacher in a private school whose house is quite close to one of the bins in Amika Layout, said, “Calabar has historically been known for its charm, peace, comfort, greenery, cleanliness, hospitality and culinary skills. . Due to the clean and pleasant environment, many people from far and wide come to relax after working hard. But since our beloved city is dirty and polluted with a foul smell, I doubt whether visitors are still coming in.”
Alarmed by the accumulation of dumped waste in the capital, the State Assembly has on July 21, 2022 resolved to invite the Commissioner for Environment, General Manager of Waste Management Agency, Secretary, Calabar Urban Development Agency (CUDA). , with the chairmen of Calabar Municipality and Calabar South, the contractors responsible for dumping garbage in the state capital will explain to the public why the city is dirty.
The resolution was passed following an urgent public interest matter sponsored by Hon. Davies Etta (Abi) lamented that Calabar is very dirty and littered with piles of rubbish. Emphasizing that the environment directly affects the health of the citizens, Etta said the unhygienic condition of Calabar is detrimental and detrimental to the health of the residents.
After discussions on the issue, MPs unanimously called for immediate steps to correct the situation to prevent a possible outbreak of the disease.
Considering the poor management of environmental problems related to waste disposal, Obong of Calabar Executive Forum (OCEF) Chairman, Chief Gershom Henshaw and Secretary Dr. In a statement signed by Maurice Ekpeyong, he said the continuous accumulation of garbage on the streets is a health problem for residents of the metropolis.
Describing the protracted garbage disposal crisis in Calabar as totally unacceptable, especially for a city known worldwide as one of the cleanest cities in the country and a preferred tourist destination, the Forum noted that piles of garbage in some areas blocked traffic as well as entrances. residents going to their homes, thereby exposing the community to distress and disease.
They called on government agencies to urgently begin the immediate evacuation of the waste that continues to pose a threat to public health and could lead to an epidemic in Calabar. They added that the time has come for other government agencies to take responsibility for waste management in the state to end this ugly trend that has been going on for some time now.
They advised the public to cooperate with the government to keep the environment always clean, especially since the Christmas season is fast approaching with the expected influx of visitors to the state, environmental sanitation should always be prioritized for the welfare of the people. .
In a statement dated July 22, 2022 and signed by the state publicity secretary, Prince Mike Ojisi, the state chapter of the PDP, which criticized the current unhygienic situation in the Calabar metropolis, strongly condemned Ayade’s attempt to turn the nation’s once paradise into a dumping ground. wear and tear.
In a statement titled “Cross River State: A city of waste under Ayade”, the party expressed dismay that the beloved city has become a complete city of waste.
The party said: “Today in Cross River State, we have roads, streets, neighborhoods, schools, hospitals, markets. the state was engulfed in an overwhelmingly pungent stench emanating from the garbage, refuse and garbage littered all over the state.
“It is more worrying that some of the secretariat building, which houses important ministries and agencies within the state secretariat, is not protected because we have thrown garbage everywhere, even in the corridors of power.
“Anything else can best be defined as incompetence and ignorance; were it not for an unthinkable act of environmental degradation, Cross Riverians are currently in the hands of Ben Ayade. Today in Cross River State, most of our roads are covered with dumps and piles of garbage so that we now find it difficult to walk over the garbage dumps to access our homes.
“As a party, we call on the state government to respond to the demands of the hour and return our dear state to the way Donald Duke and Liyel Imoke left it. Today, we are concerned about the impending threat to health as a result of environmental pollution. Apparently, the state is perhaps sitting on a powder keg, waiting for an inevitable outbreak of the epidemic.
The party said they were is determined to ensure the health of its citizens and will stop at nothing to do so, calling on residents to join as they “will operate to clean up and reclaim the Cross River.”
Meanwhile, Ayade has declared the last Saturday of every month as “Environmental Cleaning Day”. A statement signed by the secretary to the state government, Tina Banku Agbor, said the exercise “is in line with the governor’s desire to restore the clean and green status of the state and approved the monthly environmental sanitation exercise in the state. valid from 6am to 10am on the last Saturday of every month, Saturday, October 29.
“During this period, vehicular and pedestrian movement will be restricted in the state except for essential duties during the exercise and it has required the kind support and cooperation of all and sundry to make the exercise a grand success.”