The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is regarded as an alluring city strategically placed in the centre of Nigeria and acts as a crossroads through which people travel in and out creating a stream of new faces in the teeming city.
However, New National Star observed that at Nyanya, a suburb in FCT located in Abuja Municipal Area Council, the popular Abuja-Keffi, waste is being indiscriminately dumped by the roadside. Some commuters who ply the road every day expressed their displeasure over the situation.
One Mr Anifowose Yakubu said, “This is a potential danger to public health to think that people walk and drive pass this every day inhaling such odour. There could be an outbreak of a disease as a result of the refuse dump. “Although the refuse dumps are usually evacuated, it is not supposed to be by the roadside.
A lot of travellers who come into the city either for business, work or pleasure sees it. It is embarrassing. An alternative solution should be done. The residents can burn their waste or dispose of them rather than pile it on the roadside.”
Mr. Bernhardt Henah who has a car wash just by the dump side said “putting a refuse tank by the roadside is what has encouraged it. Just in front of Winco foam at Maraba in Nasarawa State, waste is also dumped by the roadside too. Although they come to clear it, it should not to be there as people enter the town from that axis.”
Also, Mr. Samuel Enoh said residents usually dump their refuse at the place to be emptied every day noting that if it was packed regularly it will not be filled to the brim and extend to the roadside and gutters. Mabel Christopher, a medical doctor practising in Abuja who expressed worry over the refuse dump said it poses risk to human health and blamed residents for the problem of indiscriminate waste. She explained that Indiscriminate disposal of wastes exposes humans to environmental degradation such as in flooding, drainage obstruction, widespread of infectious diseases and breeding of mosquitoes that cause malaria and other diseases for people who live around the area.
“Considering the harmful effects of refuse on human health, FCTA should rid the place of refuse dumps. This is necessary to ensure environmental cleanliness and the well-being of the people. “The residents too are not helping, a waste dump has been provided for you, why not be careful and pour waste orderly, instead they do not make proper use of the bin, even when they discover that the bin is filled up, they drop them on the ground; we should ensure that our environment is clean,” she said.
New National Star also gathered that ‘Baban-Bola’ as they are popularly called, otherwise known as waste scavengers were partnered with Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEFB) to reduce the quantity of waste that reaches refuse tanks and also to create job opportunities along the recycling chain. However, a few residents who spoke to this newspaper said the Baban-Bolas are alleged to have caused more harm than good.
Mrs Grace Ogbu told this newspaper that “the Baban-Bola in their search for valuable things amongst the waste end up scattering the dirt unto the ground. Most times, under the semblance of scavenging from refuse tanks they involve in theft and other criminal activities.
“They do not just go for waste anymore they take things left carelessly around. One wonder where they keep them because most of them are usually seen sleeping around dump sites and under the pedestrian bridge.” Mr. Ogenerukevwe Abel revealed that FCTA banned them (Baban-Bola) from the city centre so they came down to the suburbs and now they are causing problems for the residents. A visit to where some Baban-Bola sleep shows that they pick refuse dumps and transform them to treasure mines as they depend on it for a living.
As they end up selling the valuables to people ranging from N100 to N500 depending on what they are selling. A police officer in Nyanya Division who did not give his names said they were directed to arrest and prosecute any Baban-Bola found to violate and commit crimes against the public. “Of course there are some bad eggs among them while some just go about their business. A lot of them go about committing armed robbery and theft, we have arrested them over time on emergency calls and we are always ready to ensure the safety of the people,” he said.
A source working with Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) said a waste management company picks them up to recycle. He revealed that contractors are in charge of that area and will be told to take action because his company is in charge and he is paid. If he doesn’t deliver we have a way to deal with that. “The company has a truck which evacuates the refuse to Karshi, the official dumping site under the management of the FCTA”.