Our People’s Opinion: Wasting Wealth and draining Health | Garden City to Garbage City?

The issue of waste management is a common challenge amongst developing nations. It is associated with the indiscriminate dumping and dumping of waste in the environment. While the burning process represents a major cause of the emission of Green House gases, the dumping aspect which is done haphazardly is also a major spread of microorganism causing diseases. The two processes mentioned, are not sustainable means for the environment.

In Rivers state, a state found within the southern part of Nigeria, with huge deposit of crude oil and natural gas, is one of the states in Nigeria with weak environmental policies. The state is bedeviled with lack of waste management system in place. The common practice is evacuation and dumping of waste to designated sites. There are no recycling mechanism or waste separation techniques in place. There is huge generation of organic and inorganic solid waste matters. While the organic waste is a major source of fertilizers, the inorganic waste could be recycled into usable materials. However, these waste generated are usually kept on dumpsite and burnt.

In the last few years, the issue of sooth has been trending in the city of port Harcourt, there is this school of thought, that believes it’s as a result of bunkering (illegal refining) process of crude oil. However, we can’t elicit the fact that there are traces of sooth which is as a result of indiscriminate burning of solid waste. The long term effect of the soot, has great health risk to the population.

There is huge wealth to be generated from waste if well managed. The Rivers state government does not have any sustainable environmental framework, to harness the potentials from waste. In 2017, The State Government admitted the poor performance of Rivers State Waste Management Agency (RIWAMA) despite investing 500 million naira to the project.
However, the presence of RIWAMA is presently rooted in Obio/Akpor, PHALGA, Eleme, Oyibo and part of Ikwerre LGAs; While there are still 18 LGAs with little or no presence of RIWAMA. Such amount of money is enough to set up a recycling plant in the state, which will further help the environment and create more employment for the rising population of youths.

In spite of the waste managemnt challenge, which could generate wealth and good health for the people of the state, there is need for the state government in partnership with other stakeholders to put an end to the huge wastage of resources.

This article was written by Orji Chukwumela Kelvin

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