Residents of Oyigbo in Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State have cried out over the danger posed by the continued neglect of the refuse dump site located at the Aba/Port Harcourt express way.
The dump site which was built by the Rivers State Government to assist refuse contractors in the prompt disposal of refuse generated in parts of Port Harcourt City, has become a source of putrid odour with its attendant health hazard
Speaking to The Tide on the issue last week, the chairman Timber Market at Oyigbo, Chief Michael Onusonezie, said the strong odour of the waste dump site was not only threatening the life of the people of the area but has driven away customers that normally patronise business in the area.
He said that most businesses had already closed down due to lack of patronage.
Chief Onusonezie, therefore, appealed to the Sanitation Authority to consider the immediate relocation of the dump site.
According to him, almost all traders and passers-by in the area vacated the area each time refuse contractors commenced work at the dump site.
He also appealed to the state government to immediately embark on measures to prevent the outbreak of air epidemic disease even before finding an alternative location for the dumpsite.
Chief Onusonezie, said that the decision to locate a waste dump site at the area did not take into consideration the danger it will pose to the health of the residents.
Another resident of the area and secretary of technical, Plumbing and Tiles Market Dealers Association, Mr. Henry Okorie, urged government to have a rethink about the dumping site, because of its implication to the people, especially children who are the most vulnerable group.
According to him, it is an irony that the state government was spending billions of naira to build hospitals and health centres to save lives while at the same time tolerating activities that poses great danger to the health of the people.
He called on the state government to find urgent solutions to save the lives of people in the area, by either relocating the waste dump site or relocated the residents living in the area.
Also some landlords of the area, Mr. Ifeanyi Okere, David Awolabi, Sokiriye Benard among others including market women appealed to the government to do something about the situation before it gets out of hand.
When contacted the media officer to Environmental Sanitation Authority, Mr. Olakekan Ige, said the Authority was considering immediate fumigation of the site as is the standard practice in order to prevent outbreak of diseases.
The operations Manager of the waste dump site, Mr. Tochukwu Anyanwu, also confirmed the plan by the Sanitation Authority to fumigate the area in order to arrest the odour and other attendant health hazards.
He said, apart from plan to embark on weekly fumigation, the company handling the fumigation has also assured that the complain will reduce as soon as the fumigation begins.
Mr. Anyanwu also confirmed that the chemical use in fumigating the area was not harmful to human beings.