Locals and commuters in Adamawa North Senatorial District, North East Nigeria, have expressed dissatisfaction over the solid waste valley on Yola-Mubi highway. Media investigations have revealed that the dumpsite from Doubeli junction to Modibbo Adamawa University has caused numerous accidents, leading to deaths and severe injuries to motorists. A truck driver who identified himself as Samaila told news correspondents that many of his colleagues have been involved in accidents as a result of solid waste on the road.
In his words, “Many of our drivers have died as a result of the dumpsite which has taken half of the road.” He added that passers-by and children who pick up plastic waste to sell to recyclers have been victims of accidents. He also maintained that the one-way road was too small for even two vehicles to pass comfortably. With the dumpsite taking over the road, motorists risk their lives on a daily basis.
Only the government can stop the dumping of refuse on the site.
A roadside butcher and resident of the Zongo community also described the disposal site as a threat to the environment. He said that aside from accidents, the improper waste valley is a serious threat to the environment. Despite trying their best to reduce it, people from different places come here to dispose of waste which usually makes our efforts fruitless. He feels that only the government can put an end to this. Though the Nigerian government has repeatedly warned against indiscriminate waste disposal, many are still reckless.
When waste is not dropped on the streets, they are dumped in drainages, leading to environmental contamination. When drainages are blocked, hundreds of homes are put at risk, as there will be flooding. These illegal acts also make Nigeria one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change in the world. While landfills are the current solution to waste management, the disposal method also has negative effects on the environment, as decomposing waste usually leads to warmer air and creates disastrous greenhouse effects.
Recycling can help achieve a safer environment.
However, a 2012 research by Aliyu Nabego of Kano University of Science and Technology (KUST) shows that recycling activities can significantly reduce the amount of solid waste and help to achieve a safer and healthier environment. On the Yola-Mubi highway, some teenagers are often seen collecting recyclable wastes and subsequently selling them to recyclers for stipends. One of the waste collectors told the media that he was worried about the heaps of waste around the highway despite benefiting from it.
“I make money from improper waste disposal but that doesn’t mean I support illegality,” he said. He urged residents to amend their behaviour by re-using waste like polythene bags. Meanwhile, the state government in 2021 established the Adamawa State Environmental Protection Agency (ADSEPA) to address the challenge of indiscriminate disposal. This was in September 2023 when Governor Ahmadu Fintiri signed three bills into law. The state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Afraimu Jingi, had revealed that the ADSEPA law was aimed at protecting the environment which was facing degradation from all fronts.
Nigeria in the top 10 climate vulnerable countries.
Notably, the German Mission in Nigeria has reported that, according to the World Climate Change Vulnerability Index, Nigeria remained within the top 10 of the world’s most climate vulnerable countries, with Lagos ranking the tenth most vulnerable city in the world since 2014. With global waste growth predicted to increase by 70 percent in 2050 according to the World Bank and in the sub-Saharan region, there is an urgent need for actions across board to realize the goals of the Paris climate accord.
Climate Scorecard: Website