The issue when not adequately tackled tends to contribute to a larger extent to the failure of any government and create sharp enmity and gap between government and the people. The disturbing aspect of this is that it goes a long way in defacing the aesthetics of the state by making it look like a refuse dump.
Today the way tons of refuse surface in different parts of the city gives one serious cause for concern. The situation might not be unconnected to the speed at which the population of people in society increases and when there seems not to be any positive measures employed to tackle same; there might be no other option than confronting a situation worse for the people. And when this happens, the entire environment becomes not only polluted but unhealthy and inhabitable for the people and probably lead to abandoning their place of living and business to another areas while those who have no alternative continue to suffer the consequences including ill-health.
It was gathered that past administrations in the state tried their best to address the cantankerous issue in the city. Agencies responsible for evacuating the refuse bins were contracted by government to clean up the city on regular basis with the aim of making the capital city a healthy place for everyone.
Regrettably refuse dumps in the state have become an issue because of the reckless and careless manner people drop refuse wherever they like, even on the road. This action of the people makes the city littered with all manner of trash; paper, sachet water polythene bags bottles and cans among others.
Traders who carry out their businesses at the markets and at various shops also do not help matters as they contribute immensely to dirtying the environment by not adequately keeping it clean the way it should be. As it is now, no street in the city is free from refuse dumps.
These dumps no doubt are generated either from the market places, various family homes and business environments as the case may be. The worrisome aspect of it all is the careless way and manner inhabitants of the city drop their refuse without taking cognizance of the implication of what they do.
Refuse dumps generally are an eyesore hence their presence anywhere affect the healthy development of the inhabitants; it could lead to various sicknesses to people.
In the city of Owerri today, the capital of Imo State, there is the presence of refuse dumps scattered in all parts of the city including in the major roads such as Douglas, Wetheral, Royce and Mbaise road, among other areas. Today, Douglas Street generates the highest tonnage of refuse because of the presence of market. In the past there used to be a refuse container along Douglas road for people to dump their refuse but the authorities have relocated it inside the market where people stay beside it and sell consumable and edible goods.
However the present administration under Governor Rochas Okorocha in Imo State since inception, having recognized the fact that environmental cleanliness is next to godliness, has designed modalities that would assist it in tackling the issue by evacuating the refuse to designated place.
Worried by the precarious situation, government had decided to set up a body known as Imo State Environmental Transformation Committee (ENTRACO) whose responsibility is to see to the regular evacuation of heaps of refuse generated in the state. The duty of the agency among others is to evacuate refuse from the point of dumping in and around the state capital, to a designated location. It also monitors all refuse dumping places with a view to disposing them appropriately.
To add to it, Governor Okorocha has several times advised residents of Owerri to shun the habit of dumping refuse at unauthorized places in order to improve the environmental sanitation of the city.
Government also through the Owerri Mayoral office has designed new strategy to clean up the city and make it regain its position as the neatest state in the federation. The Mayor of Owerri Mr.Gibson Achonewa Njemanze said that his office is determined to ensure that the city becomes a habitable place for people.
He said that at the end of the exercise Owerri city would bounce back, adding that those whose stock in trade is to dump refuse carelessly in the roads and streets would be dealt with.
The Deputy Chief of Staff, Government House Owerri, Mr. Chinedu Offor, when contacted, assured Imo people that government has resolved to clear all refuse preparatory for the launch of the ‘Imo My Pride’ initiative which, he said is designed to take the state to enviable height as the cleanest and most aesthetic state in the country.
A trader in Ekeukwu Owerri along Douglas road, Mr. Kevin Obi, expressed regret over how refuse is being generated in the city and called on the state government to rise up to the challenge in order to arrest the situation before it gets out of hand.
Mrs Nwulu Chiamaka who sells near a refuse dump inside the market complained about the delay in evacuating waste by the authorities concerned. She said that there should be regular and steady evacuation of refuse to designated dumping site for the interest of the health of the people buying and selling in the market.