According to the National Technical Study Group for Nation’s Cleanliness Performance Index Ratings, Jalingo, the capital of Taraba State in the Northeastern region of Nigeria, ranked as the 5th unsanitary state capital across the country for its filthy environment. To curb this menace, the newly elected governor, Dr. Agbu Kefas, addressed the issue by creating 300 jobs focused on sanitation of the state capital. During the previous administration, there had been a procurement of waste control vehicles and disposals by the Ministry of Environment for effective collection of refuse waste.
However, these sanitation trucks and disposals left the streets of Jalingo few years after their procurement causing the city more pollution. Many waste disposals were ignored, piling waste for years and contributing to an unhealthy environment. Taraba State has also neglected the practice of monthly Sanitation Days, where the State Government Taskforce directs residents to clean their surroundings. To correct the situation, Governor Kefas has employed 300 workers to clean the capital daily from 5 am to 7:30 am for N20,000 monthly.
Governor Kefas assured prioritization of women and youth.
Residents of Jalingo expressed their gratitude to the Governor’s initiative in ensuring sanitation in the city. The newly appointed sanitation workers have been noticed to be diligently evacuating debris from blocked drainages near Jalingo Main Market. Also, under the Roadblock bridge, both young and old sanitation workers were seen singing and praising the name of Governor Kefas, who promised in his inaugural speech to prioritize women and youths in order to enable rapid development in the state.
In the governor’s inaugural speech on May 29, 2023, he promised to work collaboratively with Youths Organizations in Taraba State for enhancement of youth development. Likewise, he assured women that his administration will be gender-sensitive in every of its appointment. His first action as governor has also gained the support of residents. A public affairs analyst, Henry Nwakwo, stated that sanitation of streets and roads is significance for maintenance of the cleanliness, safety and wellbeing of a community.
A healthy environment prevents the spread of diseases.
Regarding public health and hygiene, Nwakwo said that filthy streets have a tendency of becoming breeding grounds for bacteria, diseases and pests. It can easily attract insects and rodents, thereby posing health challenges to residents. Littered streets strengthen pollution, causing harm to the environment. However, constant cleaning helps prevention of the spread of diseases, maintains a healthier environment, reduces the negative effects on ecosystems, and wildlife. Waste management and clean streets/roads assure safety for pedestrians, drivers, and cyclists.
Clean streets make drains and gutters function efficiently. Accumulated refuse waste can clog drainage systems, causing waterlogging and heightened flood risks during heavy rainfall. Regular cleaning does not give room for blockages, permitting efficient flow of water. A healthy and clean environment builds a sense of pride and ownership in residents. A well-maintained neighborhood attracts people to take more care of it and engage in community sanitation activities. It attracts visitors and is advantageous for local businesses and tourism.
Awareness on environmental issues is raised through cleanup initiatives.
Speaking on the economic advantages of sanitation, Musa Suleiman, a resident of Jalingo, said that properly maintained streets and roads have positive impacts on the values of property. A healthy environment is desired by residents and businesses, attracting investments and boosting economic growth. The act of sanitation is also seen as a medium of raising awareness concerning environmental issues, recycling and waste reduction. Clean-up initiatives in communities can enlighten people on responsible waste disposal while encouraging sustainable practices and development of a sense of environmental responsibility.