A Manager of one of the emerging modern markets in Port Harcourt, once told newsmen in his office that the commonest thing about markets in this part of the world is their level of untidiness.
That assertion to some extent is true against the backdrop that the prevailing poor sanitary condition in some markets in Rivers State, especially those in Port Harcourt City is unbearable.
It would be recalled that, the Rivers State Waste Management Agency (RIWAMA) had in several press statements, condemned the level of indiscriminate refuse disposal in markets within Port Harcourt and its environs.
Similarly, the Rivers State Ministry of Environment, apart from the issuance of threats against this menace has gone as far as arresting some traders who have formed the habit of littering markets with all forms of refuse.
At Creek road market, in the Port Harcourt Township, traders are yet to come to terms with the policy of the present Administration which is to ensure clean markets throughout the state.
A refuse heap at the centre of the market by St. Jude’s Church along the road was the main attraction for visitors as it oozes out offensive odour.
It is also observed that, the area was where most food stuffs were being sold to customers for consumption.
The situation, therefore portends a grave health hazard for both the traders and visitors to the market.
Opinions were, however, divergent among the traders on the issue, with some of them blaming the situation on the attitude of some traders who refuse to keep their surroundings clean.
They also told The Tide that most traders in the market had formed the habit of always staying away during the weekly and monthly environmental sanitation exercises.
They stressed the need for the Port Harcourt City Council to be proactive in enforcing compliance to both the weekly and monthly environmental sanitation exercises in the market.
A trader, Mrs Joyce Ada, however, said “traders must not be solely held responsible for the present state of the market as most of them are doing their best to keep the market clean”.
She also blamed some customers who visit the market for contributing to the problem.
“The traders are not the only problem here. Some people who come to buy things in this market also drop their refuse in this market”.
She, however, said that the traders will continue to do their best to ensure that the market is clean.
Another respondent, a yam dealer, Mallam Habu Illah said that in yam zone, there is no problem as the traders ensure its daily cleanliness.
“We don’t have any problem here, you can see the place is clean”, he said.
He said it is the tradition of those doing business in the yam zone to carry out daily cleaning of their shops, stressing that they will continue to keep their environment clean.
Also speaking a dealer, in frozen fish who spoke in anonymity said that the traders were not responsible for the non-evacuation of refuse heaps often a common sight in the market, as there are people designated to evacuate them.
She said that these people mostly come in the night but noted that, for some time now, they have abondoned their work.
“We traders cannot remove this heap, because we don’t have the equipment.
“We only gather them together for some people to remove them but since the beginning of this year, we have never seen anybody”, she said.
The trader, however, stressed the need for refuse contractors in charge of Creek Road to visit the area daily for refuse evacuation.
Mrs Kate Uti, another trader, decried the state of untidiness of the market and urged the authorities to come to the aid of the traders.
“We want the government to come to this place and see things for themselves with a view to stopping those who dispose refuse anyhow.”
Mrs Uti, however, commended Governor Nyesom Wike for promising to reconstruct the Creek Road, adding that the action will put an end to the present situation where traders cluster the road, thereby making the place untidy.
Effort to reach the leadership of the Creek Road Market Association proved abortive as The Tide was told that both the Chairman and the Secretary were unavailable.
Commenting on the issue, an environmentalist, Mr. Steve Obodoekwe said that the government must take the situation at Creek Road very seriously to avoid health epidemic.
Mr. Obodoekwe stated that the government must live up to expectation by ensuring refuse contractors across the state live up to their expectation.
He used the occasion to command the Rivers State Waste Management Agency (RIWAMA) for taking the bold step to terminate the contracts of some service providers who were found wanting.
We’re Hopeful Of Passage Of Water Resources Bill -Minister
The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, has expressed hope over the passage of the National Water Resources Bill before the National Assembly.
Adamu expressed the optimism while answering questions on the sidelines of a two-day training for Water Resources Correspondents, Editors, and News Analysts in the Nigerian Water Sector’ with theme, ‘Reporting Water in its Perspective’.
The Tide source reports that the training is to build capacity of reporters on water resources sector by having deep knowledge of terminologies and issues in the water sector.
The Tide also recalls that the Bill, which was introduced in the 8th Assembly, caused outrage as some Nigerians interpreted the law as a power grab by the federal Government.
“It is part of our roadmap as far as I am concerned. We will continue to engage with the National Assembly, now that they have come back from recess, we hope to engage.
“At the same time, we are talking to all other antagonists to allay the fears to accommodate whatever apprehension. We are very confident that we’ll get that bill passed,” the minister said.
He further stated that it was wrong for a section of Nigerians to completely criticize and condemn the whole Bill instead of pointing out areas that needs to be reconsidered.
“It doesn’t make sense if you have problem with the Bill; identify the key issue or problem if there is need for amendment instead to completely condemn just because of one or two items you are not satisfied with.
“In the National Assembly, you have public hearing, and we will still go back,” the minister said.
Community Residents Flay Dumping Of Sachets, Bottles In Drainages
Some residents of Eneka Community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State have condemned the indiscriminate dumping of water sachets and bottles in drainages and along the road in the community.
Speaking in an interview with The Tide in the community, they said the situation is not only an eyesore but responsible for incessant flooding being witnessed in the community.
Mr Chibuike Adim, indigene of Rumuoji Eneka condemned the practice, adding that it is this practice that blocked the gutters and caused flashed flooding in some areas in the community.
Adim called on the state government to save the community from the practice by constituting the tax force to check this habit.
He also said those who engaged in this practice are not only uneducated but also foolish, stressing that such people must be dealt with according to the law.
Also speaking, Miss Patience Odum also condemned the practice but added that there is no designated refuse dump site in the community.
Odum also urged for the provision of refuse receptacle in the area while the Rivers State Waste Management agency (RIWAMA) should also monitor the activities of the people.
Also speaking, Miss Alice Nsikak, a student of Rivers State University said the practice has become a big problem to the community as the entire drainages are blocked.
She stressed the need for sensitisation of the residence against the practice.
Nsikak also called on government to improve the method of refuse collection by providing waste bin to homes on the streets.
According to her, “people could be asked to pay little amount of money every month”, adding that the proposal will check the menace as well as check flash flooding in the community.
Also speaking with The Tide, Mr Ndubuise Ogom confirmed that dumping of plastic materials, refuge and pure water sachets in the drains is a very common practice in Eneka and also felt very bad about this practice.
This practice, added, must be stopped by government by promulgating laws to punish offenders. This if done, will prevent people taking part in such practice. He suggested, a fine of N1000 be slammad on those dumping refuge and plastic containers in the gutter.
By: Oribim Nyanaa Ibama, Elendu Obochi Esther & Inimgba Favour Victor
UNESCO Laments Impending Collapse Of Biodiversity …Says Human Survival At Risk
The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has raised alarm at the unprecedented speed which biodiversity is collapsing globally.
The Director-General of UNESCO Ms Audrey Azoulay, expressed this concern at the UNESCO 33rd session of the the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB-ICC) Programme in Abuja.
Biodiversity refers to the variety of life on earth at all its levels, from genes to ecosystems, and can encompass the evolutionary, ecological, and cultural processes that sustain
The director-general said that with the impending collapse, not only was human survival at risk, but also the beauty and the diversity of the world.
She said that the collapse was from the treetops to the ocean depths and from vertebrates to invertebrates, adding that no species was spared.
“This is the spirit driving UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme. It is what makes it so pioneering and so valuable.
“We all have to stand on the earth itself and go with her at her pace. With this impending collapse, not only is human survival at risk, but also the beauty, the diversity of the world.
“But this collapse is not inevitable: there is still time to make peace with the planet,” she said.
According to her, there is the conviction that we can re-forge our relationship with nature, that we can reconcile development and environmental protection.
“We must harness the power of education to rebuild our relationship with nature. UNESCO is fully mobilised to ensure that the environment becomes a key curriculum component by 2025.
“This is in line with the commitment made by the 80th governments we gathered at the Berlin conference last May.
UNESCO, a custodian of knowledge and know-how concerning biodiversity, has been developing concrete solutions to environmental challenges for over 50 years through the MAB programme and its network of protected sites, covering nearly six per cent of the planet.
With 714 biosphere reserves in 129 countries, including transboundary sites, UNESCO seeks to reconcile humans and nature and demonstrate that it is possible to use biodiversity sustainably while fostering its conservation.
The Minister of State for Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor, said that the world was facing planetary crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.
According to her, this global loss of biodiversity is threatening the security of the world’s food supplies and the livelihoods of millions of people including indigenous people and local communities, especially in the African region.
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