Home News Ibadan…Coping With Siege Of Dirts, Garbage (2)

Ibadan…Coping With Siege Of Dirts, Garbage (2)

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In this concluding part of his piece on waste management in Oyo State, GABRIEL OGUNJOBI writes on waste to wealth and government’s efforts to ensure sanity.

In Ibadan, there are four dumps legally established by the state government. A trip to Asunle-Awotan, Apete, a 20-hectare and biggest of the four legal dumps reveals that it does not meet the standard of a landfill.

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Apart from its overflowing, the dumping site is not demarcated from the other side scavengers weigh their goods. Just by its side, traders inside also defy the ooze of the waste to make money.

‘Baba Pélé, the man who insisted he is only identified with the nickname, has a bad impression of the management of the dump since WestAfricaENRG began operation in 2017.

“Formerly, the government does all sorts of treatment to this dump every six months, but things have changed now,” he began.

“Waste should not be seen like this but the demarcation fence was pulled down last year because of the road inside was not motorable for them. The only thing they do is pushing whenever they notice the dump is getting full.”

It was also observed that the drainages are bad and the running water follows any available path across the site.

A woman who may be aggrieved because she lost her job as a refuse contractor said WestAfricaENRG had left Ibadan worse than before it took over waste management.

“Everywhere is waste in Ibadan. Both the state government and the new private company hired have left even our well-managed dumpsites in bad shape,” the woman who refused to be named said.

Read: Ibadan…Coping With Siege Of Dirts, Garbage (1)

“Charms, toiletries stained with the menstrual release are the kind of things scavengers come in regular with here; we are even counting deaths of poor people. Yet, some people sit under AC to make money off our sweats. I hope the new government will restore the practice of waste management to what we use to know it’, she said.

As different people were busy sorting their goods, mostly PET bottles for buyers, Kabiru Adebowale gave a breakdown of the cost of their collections from the dump.

A kilogramme of PET bottle sells for N30. He said at least 50kg can be measured, “if well-stocked.” Can bottles, the second item with the good market at Asunle, sells for N50 per kg.

Some of the fourteen recyclers, registered with OYWMA, who buy these commodities from the dumps, include Recycle Grab, Keen-Bay International Limited, and Interland Power Resources Limited.

For WestAfricaENRG, only nylons are being recycled in Ibadan for now, while all the PET bottles collected are transported to their Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) situated in Alimosho, Lagos state for recycling.

Refuse contractor speaks on the evacuation of skip bins

Sonia as one of the staff of Shakayate Global Services, the accredited private refuse collectors simply identified herself, defended the action of the past government to remove skip bins at various public spots within Ibadan.

“Ibadan people are recalcitrant. From the start, I knew that the idea of public skip bin was not going to work. There are many unprintable things we recover from those waste anytime we collected waste from the trucks.

“While I don’t condone disposal in canals, public bins are not an option. It’s the common duty of the citizen and the government to manage waste. I usually tell people to wait for me for the collection of their wastes”, Ms. Sonia said.

Ms. Sonia added that waste disposal services are not charged evenly.

Depending on the status of the people and their localities, prices may be as low as N500 or as high as N3,000 per household, she stressed, in a way to corroborate the claim of WestAfricaENRG’s CEO that ‘the rich subsidies the poor’.

Oyo govt set to review waste management technique

On June 17, 2019, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, the Chief Press Secretary to the state’s Governor Seyi Makinde, had told this reporter about the new government’s plans to halt improper refuse disposal by reviewing the existing technique.

The media aide posited that: “At the wake of this administration, Governor Makinde instituted a committee on refuse disposal in Oyo State and they are already reviewing past activities on waste management, including the cost of disposal for residents.

“As soon as the review is completed, the government will work with their recommendations on the best practice, make delegations where necessary as well as take appropriate actions where capacities are lacking.”

100 days after the tenure kicked-off, this reporter again spoke with the commissioner of environment and water resources, Hon. Kehinde Ayoola as a follow-up about the government’s activities while indiscriminate dumping persisted.

The commissioner reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring that roadside dumping is curbed by ensuring a more effective waste collection method as well as enforcing environmental laws against offenders.

He said: “The government will soon introduce the refuse receptacles so that people can easily dump wastes for collection. We will also be strict with the enforcement of extant environmental laws. In a matter of a few days, the governor will inaugurate four tribunals to try environmental offenders.”

In line with the Environmental Sanitation Regulations of 2013 and the Oyo State Waste Management Authority laws of 2004, the state government has the task of ensuring compliance with waste management rules.

As such, it prescribes fines and jail terms for indiscriminate refuse dumping. The state environmental law also stipulates that every house must have a waste bin. Every person that generates waste must dispose of it sustainably and through government accredited waste collectors. Violators are liable to six months jail term or option of N50,000 fines.

On the concern of exorbitant rate for waste, however, the commissioner added that: ‘it’s not true that the cost charged is high. I was at a place today (Thursday) where they pay as low as N100 per month.’

‘Governor Makinde-led government will not allow the people to be exploited as the charges will be in consideration of their economic buoyancy but waste disposal cannot be free’, he told the reporter in a telephone conversation on September 20.

Way out

In a bid to overcome the tales of improper waste disposal in Ibadan, a group of university’s students initiated an awareness campaign on the need to keep Ibadan clean.

Co-founded by Daniel Chenube, Atinuke Adeniran, and Farida Brimmo, in the University of Ibadan, PickIt Recycling Club, in its sensitization campaign tagged #NotInMyGutter, on April 13, engaged the community people on what they termed radical way of preserving the environment.

“From our interactions with the residents, we discovered that these people need a change of mindset. Many of them are ignorant of the consequences of their poor waste management to both the environment and their health’, Farida, a 400L student of Medicine and Surgery, said.

“Ibadan people deal with the problem as they see it. They are not aware of the danger to everyone. So, our way of giving to the society is to raise the consciousness level and help have a change of mindset on how to get rid of wastes,” Daniel, a 400L student of Zoology, added.

An expert in solid waste management and a senior lecturer at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Abel Amos, also emphasized the urgent need to combat the excessive volume of plastic in circulation.

“Nothing is good about plastics. They are non-biodegradable and some of them can last centuries, depending on their thickness and chemical compounds. Whether they are burnt or stay afloat waters, they remain a great threat towards achieving a sustainable environment,” he said.

On climate change, he said: “There is usually a gaseous emission that degrades the greenhouse whenever nylon bags and PET bottles are burned which depletes the atmospheric condition. Health hazards include all forms of skin infections. And, some other times, they affect the fish in the oceans or cause soil pollution.’

“Even during recycling, certain petrochemical products escape into the air. We need to understand that the environment also has a tolerance level before such pollution becomes unbearable,” he added.

According to the United Nations, one million waste plastic bottles are churned out every minute across the world while five trillion plastic bags are generated yearly – about 10 million units every minute. It is also estimated that at least eight million tons of plastic end up in the oceans every year.

Amos suggested that governments across the federal and state levels should seriously consider raising the registration’s cost for companies manufacturing plastics to discourage the market and allow the alternative market to thrive. ‘Instead of using plastics for food and water, the organic means like leaves and woods are healthy and pose zero threat to the health of individuals.”

This is to say for Nigeria, including Oyo State, to achieve UN SDG11, which is seeking to ensure sustainable cities and communities, common threats to the environment like open burning and dumping of refuse must be contained by all means.

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