By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Abuja Environmental Protection Board, AEPB is collaborating with the Rotary Club International in the cleanup of communities in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The clean- up exercise is focused on clearing all waste disposal sights and ensure that sanitation is maintained even in the rural communities across the FCT.
Speaking at Sabo Lugbe, venue of the clean-up exercise, Director, Abuja Environmental Protection Board, Babashehu Lawan, informed that the partnership is reaching out to many communities within the territory in fulfilment of a promise to the community.
He also said that the exercise was part of the directive of the Minister of the FCT to sanitise as much as possible all the communities in the FCT.
“This is one of the areas we visited last year during the rainy season. We carried out sanitisation campaign and alerted the community and told them to keep their environment very clean.
“The challenge we had during the rainy season was this their communal dump site. Where they are depositing their wastes.
“But because the heavy trucks could not access the dump site that period to lift the refuse, we promised them that we are coming back.
“September last year was our time of sanitization, to give them a health talk and we now came in March 2020 to ensure that the wastes being collected are taken to the central dump site.
“The community is very happy with us. This is also one of the pet-projects of Rotary International. We are working with the community to now identify an ideal dump site because this dump site is very close to a water source, a seasonal stream which usual passes through this communal dump site and the dirty water coming out from the dumps is also reaching out to the streams and all the streams are interlinked and this will also pollute their water bodies. And sometimes people in the community may use same stream for their domestic chores.”
With the clearing of the community, and together with the community, Lawan said the AEPB will ensure that there is sanitary guard in the cleaned communities who will now ensure that wastes from the community are no longer deposited in the usual sites.
“What we are going to do here after removing this monumental wastes is to plant trees. Now the community and the Abuja Environmental Protection Board will identify and Ideal site outside the settlement so that disease transmission by vectors such as flies will not reach the community. And this is the main reason we came here today to ensure that this wastes is removed.”
The President, Rotary Club, Abuja Capital Territory, Mrs. Ndidi Uchuno said the clean-up exercise was in continuation of their culture of adopting communities for the purpose of keeping a clean environment.
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She assured that after the clearing of waste, the Club is also going to work with AEPB to plant trees, who are expected to bring their own professional touch to bear.
“Here is Sabon-Lugbe our adopted community, Rotary is trying to make sure that our areas of focus are involved. We take out all our projects in the community and of course this is one of them.
“We came around and saw disaster waiting to happen and we were like we have to do something about it and then we started the project.
“The community has promised to find a better way of disposing their wastes by tying them in nylon with trucks moving around to pick them.
“For now we just have to get this place completely cleared as we promised them. It’s a promise made and a promise kept. Today we’ll make sure that all of this is completely cleared and then we’ll come back to plant the trees.”
On what the community planned to do, the representative of the community and son of the chief of Sabon-Lugbe,
Prince Aminu Ndakozo said they have a pick-up that goes round to collect the wastes and that enforcement to the community had commenced to have a nylon where residents package their refuse and keep in front of their houses for easy pick by waste disposal vehicles.
“That is what we’ll be doing after they cleared this place so that we’ll not contract diseases. We are hearing of Ebola and many other diseases effecting people. We believe with this (clearing of dump site) and by the grace of God, we’ll be very much okay.
“We have taskforce in the community that will be there to guide and lead them on how to go t0 disposing their wastes and I believe with the taskforce they will obey the rules and regulations of the community. We have those that go about to give information to the whole community telling them how to about the wastes . So we believe with those people and the taskforce, they’ll obey the rules and do what they ask them.”