Epidemic imminent as refuse dumps overrun Onitsha

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…residents raise alarm

Residents of Onitsha and its environs in Anambra State have raised the alarm over impending epidemic outbreak in following increasing refuse dumps in the area.

They attributed the ugly development to the indefinite industrial action by waste evacuators known as Pay Direct Contractors.

Among the affected areas include Federal Housing estate, Akpaka house estate, Omagba Phase 1 & 2, Oweleaja, Awada, Ozalla, Oduke and Odume/isiowulu in Obosi communities.

Others are Iyiukwu, Nkwelle izunaka, Ugwuagba, Abata Nsugbe, Okpoko, Amafor west, Iyiowa odakpe, Mkpikpa, Enekwasumpu and Akuzor Nkpor communities.

One of the residents, Chief Earnest Mbagwu described the odour from the stench as unimaginable, saying it had constituted threats to the health of the people of the area.

He called for the immediate intervention of relevant authorities.

He said, “Before, the refuse dump used to be along the express until it was relocated here. We agitated against it but they insisted it was where the governmemt want it to be.

“They had promised to be evacuating the refuse three times a week. But for the past two weeks, the thing has been there. There’s nothing you won’t see there.

“The type of odour oozing out from the dump is unimaginable and not good for human habitation and capable of causing epidemic if care is not taken.

“Many of the residential buildings here are housing nursing mothers, pregnant women and aged parents, some who are sick. My wife just came back from the hospital. No one can say for sure whether it’s the effect of the refuse.

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Mbagwu who is a caretaker of one of the buildings in the area also listed some of the businesses around the area to include the popular Ekene Dili Chukwu workshop, Emera warehouse, among others.

“This dump is supposed to be in the outskirts and not directly in front of people’s houses and business premesis. It’s only in Nigeria you can see this type of thing.

“We’re calling on the relevant agencies to come and evacuate the refuse so we can breath some fresh air.

“We’ve been complaining to the landlords and PG to remove it but they said they are having issues with government, and they are on strike.”

Another resident, Prince Odinaka Chikwelu, Chief Security officer in Awada area said they had agreed to contribute money to evacuate the refuse, but stressed they would not allow further dumping of the refuse in the area.

He said, “People have been complaining and we don’t know what to do, especially considering the season. We discussed it last week before we met the contractor who said the government asked them to stop.

“We’re going to contribute to remove it. But we won’t allow anybody to dump any refuse here again.”

One of the landlords in one of the communities, Chief Mike Aloka, said they were waiting for government to intervene in the matter.

He said, “You can see with your eyes, the wastes are no longer being evacuated, because of inhumane policies of the state government.

“I can’t imagine how they want to use waste to generate revenue instead of using it to keep the environment clean.

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“We’ve been disposing the waste and collecting the money from the people but along the line, they felt it’s better to collect the money while we do the evacuation.

“We’ve been evacuating for over 6 months. And we asked them to pay us for the ones so far evacuated, they refused, and at the same time don’t want us to collect money.

“We’re waiting for them to pay us for the ones we’ve done so we can continue. It’s only one week and the entire environment is littered with refuse. I wonder what will happen when it lingers.

“Those in charge of the evacuation had run shot of cash. They’ve been on this since January.”

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