How Gov AbdulRazaq Clean Up the Mess in Environment Sector in Kwara
Based on the maladministration of the past administrations in the state, just like the rot Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara state met in every other sector when he assumed office in 2019, that of Environment was not different.
Many of the Roro bins where residents dumped their refuse were wrecked and the vehicles hitherto used to collect refuse from residents in the state were damaged and largely unserviceable.
Commissioner for Environment, Mrs Remilekun Oluwatobi Banigbe in an interview recently said, “what the administration met on ground were unserviceable trucks and most of them were damaged and sadly, they were unable to meet the needs of the people.
“There were no trucks to pick them up and of what use is a bin when you’re not picking it regularly.
“We had to quickly look for a means of profering solution to the issue on ground and that was the point where the aluminum galvanized bins were made, not less than 50 of them were made and they were distributed.”
The Commissioner added that “Four compactor Trucks were fixed, and a tipper as well. Two Dyno trucks were also equally fixed. We have the social waste collectors and his excellency engaged those people as soon as the administration began.”
The commissioner however noted that, the previous administration expended a lot on waste disposal, that they bought equipments and handed them over to collectors for Management, “yet it was the government that was fixing these trucks anytime they were faulty and paying the operators.”
“That system was not cost effective at all. Infact, as at the time that we came on board, the trucks were not serviceable and they were nothing to write home about. That was why we had to resucitate the intervention scheme.
“But that wasn’t enough for a government that is people centric so the government approved the repair of the trucks, for the first phase we distributed 18 new bins across town, then we realized that there are still more strategic locations for these waste bins to be distributed so we checked again and we distributed 8 more making it 26.”
She added that the galvanized bins were made and distributed by popular demand in different locations in town in order to arrest the waste disposal means of people.
“After then, the level of those coming out kept on increasing, and the bins were actually effective for the purpose of its distribution and it curbed waste disposal but we are still not where we wanted them to be, and we still had to probe further.
“For places like Oja Oba, you discover that after you drop a bin there in the morning and by afternoon it’s filled up. it felt like the government was putting much efforts in this regards yet we were achieving close to zero results.”
She also said that, “People are the most difficult to manage. How compliant are people? We have bins yet people still decide to dump their trash on the road. Some people dump their trash beside the bins when the bin is there. People should dispose waste wisely.”She said.
She added that,” People have to be responsible, it’s not just all about the government, the government has its obligations to the people but even as citizens and inhabitants, we also have responsibilities and duties to the government and communities we live in,” the Commissioner advised.
She continued, “Another challenge is people not wanting to patronize the commercial waste collectors. People feel like because the government has provided bins, there’s no need to pay the collectors. People load their car trunks with waste looking for where to drop them when there are waste collectors. It’s not fair on the government since the amount the collectors should be paid are as low as #1500, #2000 per month depending on your agreement with them.
“Another challenge is our marketers. It is expected that on sanitation days they come together and have people come to evacuate the waste. In the afternoon the markets are clean but towards the evening, they bring out wastes and begin to dump them on the road medium. By morning everywhere is messed up.
“We engaged the Fruit sellers association and they requested for a waste bin but they’re still not forth coming in this regard.”
She continued that, “the proper thing to do is to wait till those bins are filled and evacuated before dropping your trash but people just rush at the bins, and drop refuse on the floor even around it. It’s not right. At that point, we went back to the drawing board to inquire what these people really need because our results were lesser than our expectations.
“So at these point we engaged the people again and we went back to the giant road bins. We have at Oja Oba, Adifa junctions, Post Office, and these locations are all strategic areas where there are a lot of people.We distributed 11 of those giant road bins to those locations. Last year November, his Excellency also approved the purchase of three more compactors as a means of the interventions.
She also noted that, “The ones that were previously damaged, there were complaints of people dumping hot coals and ashes into the bins, faeces, bodies of babies, foetus there and a lot of things one wouldn’t imagine people would trash that way.”
The Commissioner also grieved about the unrepentant attitude of some residents dumping refuse inside the gutter during the rain.
“Another issue is during the rainy season people dump refuse in the drainage systems which stop the flow of water and in turn lead to flooding.”
She said that “it is not uncommon during rain seasons to drive round especially around evening seeing people dumping their garbages around these drainage system.
“Where do these stuffs go to? They block our drainage, the drainages get silted up. At the end of the day, they pile up somewhere and this in turn hinders the flow of water which could eventually lead to flooding.
“If you do not pave way for water, water will pave way for itself. So at times we have issues of drainages trading apart all because of our carelessness.
These drainages, according to her, have their own impact, “once you begin to have a collapsed drainage, it in turn affect the whole road. The flood will keep hitting the road, there’ll be potholes. It’s so interconnected.”
Speaking further about challenges in the ministry, she said that there are the low income earners and even non income earners who will never pay for evacuation of their waste.”For these set of people, making payment for waste evacuation might be like waiting for rain in dry season.”She said.
She added that, “When we engaged the leaders of the communities of these low and non income earners, they said the bins were quite small for them and we had to produce the green medium sized bins (we could call it large) which could only be picked by designated trucks, the Dyno trucks. If you go to some locations like Taiwo isale, Amilegbe and others, you could find some of these green bins there.”
The Commissioner, however said that, “we had the commercial waste collectors who were still very much available to collect people’s refuse from door to door. All you have to do is pay a token, either at the end of the month or pay upfront depending on the agreement with the commercial waste collectors.”
She also said that the commercial waste collectors relate directly with the people and their activities are being regulated by the Kwara Stare Environmental Protection Agency (KWEPA) and they make their monthly remittances to KWIRS.
Banigbe further said that Kwara state is still the most secured state in the north central region of Nigeria, adding that this has largely increased the level of migration to the state and there’s also increase in daily waste disposal due to this.
She explained how her ministry regularly meet stakeholders in the communities such as the Baales, community heads, who always ask for more Roro bins which would always be done in phases because of paucity of funds.
Alhaja Sherifat Aloba who heads fruits sellers at Oja Oba in Ilorin in an interview commended the innovation of the present administration towards bringing sanity into the hitherto refuse disposal vis-a-vis environmental crisis in the state.
“Unlike before the truck driver and his team come here almost every two hours everyday to collect our refuse, we have never had this kind of attention from any administration.This I know happen across the major markets in Ilorin and beyond.Governor AbdulRazaq should keep this up “She said.