It saddens to see how Akure, the capital city of Ondo State that used to be the ‘second cleanest’ city in Nigeria become a shadow of itself. The sight of refuse littering all the major roads in the city is worrisome.
In November 2019, I mobilized hundreds of Ondo State students to major roads in Akure for a clean-up aimed at showing Ondo State citizens that our environment is our responsibility.
Environmental waste management is crucial not only in maintaining cleanliness but also for good hygiene.
While planning Clean City Train 2019, I noticed a lot of loopholes in the state’s waste management cycle which is understandably the root cause of the recent dirt outburst in Akure.
Some causes of the intractable waste problem in Akure are: (i.) Citizens waste disposal habit (ii.) Waste workers attitude to work (iii.) Lack of adequate equipment, plant and tools necessary for waste disposal and collection (iv.) Corruption (v.) Overlap in function of the state enforcement and waste management agency (vi.) Population effect.
Akure is the image of the whole state and we shouldn’t be promoting a bad image of our dear sunshine state. If Akure must attain a sustainable clean environment, the task must be perceived as a collective responsibility of all stakeholders –Government, Private Industry and the citizens.
I will highlight important steps that environmental stakeholders have to do towards achieving this goal.
Government: Firstly, Government must prioritize waste management and sanitation in the state. It is one of the key pillars in assessing the effectiveness of an administration besides performance in infrastructure, health, education and security of lives and property.
Secondly, the office of the Commissioner for Environment rather than a political compensation, must be occupied by an environmental expert. Candidates should be apt and innovative enough to drive the desired change.
Thirdly, the Government has to provide adequate necessary equipment that will aid easy waste management and not abandon the whole business in the hands of private industry.
Fourthly, environmental laws have to be effectively enforced. Corruption and matters of ethics among officers have to be checked.
Fifthly, the local government council needs to be committed to environmental work by empowering private industry to handle waste. Yet, like I said earlier, not abandon the business to them.
Also, Government must embark on awareness campaign of environmental laws and benefits of clean environment.
Citizens: The fact that every piece of waste lying on the roads of Akure was dumped by a citizen implies that we must take responsibility to turn the story around. In going sustainable, we must embrace the 3Rs –reduce, reuse and recycle waste product. We must also cooperate with the Government by obeying all environmental laws.
At the other of obedience to all these, is a happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous 2021 along with Mother Nature!
Kikiowo Ayoade D. is the global president, National Association of Ondo State Students (NAOSS), a nation building strategist, a unionist, policy analyst and a student of the federal university of technology akure.
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