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Waste takes over Akwa Ibom markets and road

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Traders persist in setting up their shops near the garbage dumps.

Despite its reputation as Nigeria’s “cleanest” state, Akwa Ibom major towns and neighbourhoods are now plagued by waste dumps. The well-known Akpan Andem market on Ndiya Street, which connects to Udo Umana, is now clotted by garbage dumps that block people and vehicle traffic. Several other key streets in the city, including Abak Road, Ikpa Road near the Atiku Abubakar Avenue, IBB Way, University of Uyo, Nwaniba Road, Ikot Ekpene Road, Itu-Calabar Road, and Obio Imoh Street, have not been exempted. Udobio Street and the entrance to Effiong Ukpong Street, both residential neighbourhoods, have been completely overtaken by waste.

It’s even more concerning when traders, especially those selling fruits and other consumables, persist in setting up shop too near to the garbage dumps, despite the overwhelming smell. As a result, not only are these vulnerable people, primarily women, at risk but also the consumers who buy tainted goods and fruits at the market. It has been noted that the markets in the state are where the majority of the city’s 15,000 daily tonnes of urban and local waste are accumulated. One of the market traders named Madam Imoh, who sells water leaves, stated that despite paying a sanitation fee, the market is unclean. Even though they occasionally come to remove the junk, this location consistently lacks upkeep.

The state needs to do better and live up to its standards.

In an interview, Barr Clifford Thomas, executive director of the Foundation for Civic Education, Human Rights, and Development Advancement (FOCEHRADA), placed blame on the government’s waste management system and tagged it as ineffective. He explained that in order to earn the title of “cleanest state in Nigeria,” the government in the state should cleaned, packed, and then videoed various strategic locations throughout the state before submitting a report to get such an award. It’s unlikely that can be maintained. He wouldn’t know the particular variables that were utilised, but it’s possible that they’re the cleanest state in Nigeria. If so, though, they need to keep improving.

Thomas further noted that the Uyo Village Road dumpsite, which supplies water to 24 local government areas in the state, is heavily polluted and has been responsible for the spread of diseases, including malaria and typhoid. The waste dump site is supposed to be a UNESCO site. Spring can be found there since a pathway runs down to the groundwater. A UNESCO World Heritage site that has been desecrated. From there, trash, including human waste, flows into the Ikpa trough. Several local government areas receive their water supply from the Ikpa trough. The Uyo Village Road water supply is shared by more than 24 of the city’s local government units. Typhoid is still more common when people use water from the borehole.

They should enact by-laws and introduce sanitation fees in markets.

On the other hand, Prince Akpan Ikim, the Chairman of the Akwa Ibom State Environmental Protection and Waste Management Agency (AKSEPWMA), recognised the increasing volume of waste that has been produced in Uyo and assured the press that his agency was striving diligently to address the problem. He said that his team were searching for locations with a significant amount of waste disposed. Ikim ascribed the current predicament to a rise in the state’s overall population as well as an increase in the price of hiring vehicles due to the rising price of diesel.

He assured them that they would do everything in their power to perform at the highest level. The Chairman also complained that certain local government councils were shortchanging the agency by enacting their own by-laws and introducing sanitation fees in markets. He advocated for regions where local governments have not implemented cleanliness taxes in markets, claiming that those regions have failed to ensure that their markets remain clean. In response to his remarks, a number of metropolises have announced that they have passed environmental by-laws.

Fees collected from market people should be used in waste removal.

Additionally, those people have come up with a method for obtaining sanitation fees from nearby markets. In a market where they are charging for waste pickup, he has no intention of helping them out. People that charge market women a fee should put that money towards trash removal. If a municipality has enacted such regulations and is charging associated fees, then that money should be used for garbage removal. Like the problem with the Akpan Andem market, he has been intervening in the area, but he has made it clear that he would not intervene any longer.


Related Link

Akwa Ibom State: Website

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