Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The Abia State Task force on Waste Management, has announced tough measures and sanctions against violators of guidelines on waste disposal with effect from July 1.
Head of the Task force, Mr Ogbonnia Okereke, who disclosed this at a press briefing Friday in Umuahia, said the Task force would no longer tolerate any conduct capable of frustrating the on-going efforts to clean up the state.
Ikengaonline had reported that Gov. Alex Otti, had within 24 hours after his inauguration, declared state of emergency on waste, and set up the Task force to evacuate the mounting heaps of refuse in Aba and Umuahia.
According to him, from July 1, waste disposal by individuals will only be allowed between 5pm and 9pm daily as the Task force will commence night operations in Umuahia.
He warned that any person disposing ‘un-bagged’ waste or in an unauthorised location as well as during unofficial hour would be tried in a mobile court for appropriate sanctions.
Ogbonnia also warned against dumping hot charcoal or any material that could ignite fire in the refuse buckets.
The Task force Head who said that over 2700 truck loads of waste were being generated daily in the state, explained that the Government was already mulling a more efficient and permanent waste disposal system.
He lamented the failure of the past administration to equip the Abia State Environmental Protection Agency, ASEPA, with the needed tools to effectively manage waste in the state.
Ogbonnia said that “Abia has only four ‘fairly manageable’ compactor trucks for evacuation of wastes.”
According to him three of the trucks are stationed in Aba while “one which usually breaks down is in Umuahia.”
Ogbonnia said the state needs about 20 compactor trucks for effective evacuation of refuse.
Decrying monumental looting of Government property during the past administration, Ogbonnia disclosed that one compactor truck was recently recovered from an individual’s house where it was hidden.
He further said that only six out of the 11 refuse dump buckets in Aba “are functional,” adding that Ariaria International Market axis alone needs about 10 of such buckets.
“ASEPA has 11 buckets in Aba but only six are manageable. The agency also has four functional trucks with three in Aba, and only one in Umuahia.
“The state needs about 200 buckets – 100 in Aba, 50 in Umuahia, and 50 in other emerging towns. The state also needs about 20 trucks for effective evacuation of refuse.”
On a better waste management system, he said the state had perfected plans to engage private firms with capacity and competence.
According to him, Aba and Umuahia have been divided into six zones for more efficient waste evacuation system to be undertaken by private firms with proven competence and capacity.
He solicited the cooperation of residents and corporate bodies in waste disposal efforts.
The Task force boss who said that ASEPA had become almost comatose due to under funding and poor management, said efforts were being intensified to restore Abia as the cleanest state in the country.