Spectacle: WHY IS OWERRI TURNING INTO A REFUSE SITE?

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PRINCE MACDONALD ENWERE

Anyone who enters  Owerri metropolis recently will be surprised to see Owerri becoming a refuse dump. It is incredible that Owerri, the one-time cleanest State capital in the Federation has today become an eye sore. The serenity and  sparkling beauty  of Owerri has faded away, firts have taken over all the nooks and crannies of the entire metropolis. 

The  atmospheric serenity of the entire city which used to be enjoyed by people from different parts of the country has been polluted by the rotten odour that emanates from the refuse dumps scattered all over the places. Today, one hardly gets a feel of  fresh air in the city of Owerri.  Indiscriminate dumping of refuse  has made Owerri to loose its fame and residential worthiness. Most cities of the World today like; Oslo, Dublin, London, Washington, Paris are famous because of the beauty of their sparkling clean environment.

It is now a common sight across the State to see heaps of festering waste dumps in almost every part of Owerri. Residential apartments, markets, streets and waterways have been turned into a refuse dump. There is no doubt that  lack of coordinated approach,  improper and unorganized waste disposal and management system, are among the major contributory factors responsible for the poor waste management and uncleanness of Owerri. Also, the ENTRACO, which is responsible for the  transformation and maintenance of  environmental cleanness in the state is not leaving up to expectations, could this be lack of required support from the government ? Recently, the Governor constituted a Special Task Force on Environment headed by the Commissioner for Environment, Dr Iyke Njoku. The truth is that the Task Force is inactive and only exist on paper. Infact, there is no need for such Task Force since ENTRACO is there. If there is need for any special Task Force on Maintenance of Environmental Cleanness in the state, such Task Force most work in synergy and maintain an implicit intercourse with  ENTRACO because the terms of reference of  the Special Task Force is among the statutory responsibilities of ENTRACO which is enshrined in the law establishing it.

One thought that Dr Iyke Njoku’s Special Task Force on Environment was created to compliment the effort of ENTRACO in keeping our environment clean.  Anything short of this, the Task Force should be disband with immediate effect.  We can’t have such Task Force and  ENTRACO and still live under a refuse dump, it’s highly disheartening. 

 Pundits like us are wondering why ENTRACO is not leaving up to its full expectations. The whole responsibility or the blame of the uncleanness nature of Owerri should go to Government and  ENTRACO. Is either Government is not funding ENTRACO properly to enable it  discharge its responsibilities in refuse disposal and maintenance of environmental cleanness or ENTRACO itself is not active and proactive in carrying out its statutory task. ENTRACO should be active and  take full charge.

 The major concerns of this present administration should be on how to restore the lost glory, the beauty and the cleanness of the city of Owerri. Having stated this, my advice is that, ENTRACO should restore the communal spirit and inculcate a sense of environmental awareness into the citizenry by maintaining environmental cleanness through the enforcement of its sanitation and environmental regulations. It should also establish a stringent regulatory framework that will enhance environmentally sound waste management and disposal mechanism that will ensure high quality of life and prevent damage to the ecosystem.  There should be massive investment in waste evacuation. This can be possible by setting up a formal recycling sector where waste of all kinds in the state will be recycled for the purpose of wealth generation and also for a sustainable development and environmental friendliness.

ENTRACO should also provide cellophane bags to enable residents bag their wastes before dumping them in a large trashcans . Untill these challenges as stated here are properly, boldly and diligently addressed by the Government, effective waste disposal will remain a nightmare and a mirage in the State while the state will continue to be a refuse site.

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