Residents of Owerri have called on the Imo Government to provide an effective way of refuse disposal, especially in residential areas of the city.
The residents told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Owerri that there was no effective waste disposal system in the state.
Mr Willy Nzuko, a landlord in Uratta, Owerri North Local Government Area, said tenants often used undeveloped plots as dumpsites because of the lack of better alternatives.
Nzuko said the closeness of the dumpsites to people’s houses had resulted in cockroaches and rodents infesting their homes.
“We have a serious problem with how to dispose our refuse, open plots are then converted into refuse dumps, regardless of the health risks involved.
“The plot next to my own is now a dumping ground for people here because the state government has not made any serious waste disposal effort.
“Our houses are infested with cockroaches and rats and because it is still a developing area where we have plots that are bushy, snakes come after these rats and even invade our houses, not to talk of germs which we do not see,” he said.
Nzuko urged the state government to create legal dumpsites in residential areas which would be evacuated regularly.
Another resident, Mr Steve Nwulu, said the people in the area often sneaked out in the night to dump refuse because the dumpsites they used were illegal.
Nwulu said the bins provided by the state government were too few and far from many residential houses and called on the government to provide more bins closer to residential areas.
Mr Ejike Nwigwe, a guard in Egbu in Owerri North Local Government Area, complained about the distance between legal dumpsites and residential areas.
“Part of my duty as a security man is to carry away refuse from the compound where I live and it is not easy.
“After I was arrested for throwing refuse in an illegal dumping ground I started using the government dustbins but they are not close to where I live.
“The refuse I handle is from six flats and the distance is very far,” Nwigwe said.
Mr Kemdirim Mezue, a civil servant, suggested the provision of private bins for every compound.
Mezue said the government could work out an arrangement with residents who would buy the bins from the state Environmental Transformation Commission (ENTRACO).
He also suggested that refuse evacuation trucks should make rounds two or three times a week to collect refuse for a small fee.
Mezue noted that this could also improve internal revenue generation for the state.
When contacted, the General Manager of ENTRACO, Mr Henry Ike, said the commission had started to acquire environmental sanitation equipment to ensure proper cleanliness and a healthy environment.
Ike said that strict measures would be put in place to ensure people complied with refuse disposal guidelines so as to stop proliferation of illegal dumpsites.(NAN)