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Garden City And Challenge of Waste Management

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Samuel Joseph

There is no gainsaying the fact that the environment constitutes a vital sector in the economy of any nation. The fact that all economic activities take place in an environment underscores the importance of the environment. It is for this reason that nations especially the developed countries have had to evolve sound and comprehensive policies and programmes that address issues or problems emanating from the environment either natural or man made. The objective being to protect and preserve the environment (both physical and human) for the use of future generations.

Of course, waste management is a strategic component of environmental management. The significance of waste management especially on the population cannot be over emphasized when viewed on the desire for a safe and healthy population for economic activities to thrive. That is to say a safe and healthy population is a “sine qua non” for sustainable economic growth and development of any nation.

In Rivers state waste management has become a recurring phenomenon. Obviously it is one issue that successive administrations have not been able to address squarely despite the huge resources expended. The truth is that .previous administrations lacked a clear cut waste management policy neither did they conscientiously execute whatever policy they had on ground. And so Rivers State and particularly Port Harcourt the state capital and its environs remain beset with waste management problems and their adverse ramifications.

The common manifestation of an inefficient and ineffective waste management system is the ugly sight of heaps of refuse dotting various street corners, littering, blocked drains, over grown weeds, makeshift structures, abandoned vehicles and metal scraps with high level of noise ‘pollution completing the cycle.

All these no doubt abound in Port Harcourt city and its environs. The situation poses serious challenge to the present administration which from all indications is desirous of confronting the menace head long through the Integrated Waste Management System.

When you talk about problems of sanitation and the waste management programme which the Amaechi administration inherited, what readily comes to mind is de-silting of drains and refuse evacuation by contractors. Even as narrow and crude as this policy is, its implementation had proved to be as tough as a hard nut. These contractors have indeed failed the state as they only engage in what some environmental experts describe as mere distribution of waste.

These contractors are simply ill prepared even for the simple task of refuse evacuation, or de-silting of drains. They lack the professional skill to do the job. Their technical and logistical capacities are nothing to write home about. Their often hired rickety trucks and poorly equipped and motivated personnel speak volume of the ineffective service they render. Exposure, littering and fly dumping are common features during refuse evacuation. As for de-silting contractors, silts from the drains are never evacuated into trucks for disposal after each operation, only for the waste to be washed into the drains and for them (contractors) to de-silt again. It is a vicious circle that makes no meaning and probably a deliberate ploy to keep them busy.

To these contractors, sanitation job is just like any other business where you make as much profit as you can even if the outcome is a glaring non performance. The love or passion for the environment is not in their reckoning and so they cannot muster the zeal or efforts to do their job excellently and be happy. They are not irritated by the heaps of refuse in their areas of operations as they wait for their monthly payment.

In this situation the regulatory bodies are not free from blame ‘either as they have also failed to discharge their duties creditably. They lack the capacity to supervise, monitor and extract compliance and in the case of default exert appropriate sanctions that will serve as deterrent and even in cases where they attempt control, the contractors who are mostly untouchables because of their political connections treat them with levity or out rightly ignore them and so the rot continues.

We could also blame the poor sanitary situation on the attitude of the people. In fact the whole mess had assumed an attitudinal dimension. This is as a result of the nonchalant attitude of previous administrations, a situation which made people to become complacent with environmental hygiene as they indulge in all manner of dirty habits at home and in public. Thus, people accumulate waste in their homes and dispose off anywhere’ it suits them even in drains. It became fashionable to litter the streets with waste in a manner that defies the efforts of government to keep the city clean.

The cause of the perennial flooding in Port Harcourt, each time it rains has also partly been traced to clogged drains that hinder water flow although some of these drains are mere gutters that lead to nowhere and this brings us to the issue of channels and discharge outlets that make up a comprehensive drainage system.

There is also the menace of banners and posters. The indiscriminate pasting of posters and banners and even sign boards on every available space has grossly defaced the city. This, coupled with pervasive street trading has created the impression of a city in dire need of sanity.

It is against this backdrop one would appreciate the significance of the stakeholders meeting called by the Hon. Commissioner for Environment Mr. Kingsley Chindah on July, 2009 at the conference hall of Ministry of Justice. The meeting was essentially to reappraise and evaluate the performance of the present waste management programme which could be described as ad hoc viz-a-vis the new Integrated Waste Management System of the Rivers State government in order to achieve the synergy needed to ensure a clean and healthy environment.

Truly, the commissioner did not mince words or pretend in admitting failure on the part of every stakeholder (contractors, regulators and the public) as far as the present system is concerned and called for a reawakening. A new consciousness for all those involved in environmental sanitation in the state, particularly the need for major players to display professionalism and competence in their operations.

Refuse and de-silting contractors have a major role to play and should begin to get serious and committed in doing their job with pride and dignity and not just a profit making venture. The government wants to see improved performance in refuse collection with the goal of professionalizing the system and has thus put in place concrete measures designed to raise the standard to achieve optimum result. And contractors who do not meet the minimum standard will be shown the way out for serious minded professionals to come in.

For instance, to qualify as a contractor in the new dispensation you need at least three trucks and not rickety ones with evidence of experience or past performance in the job. Dumpsite managers should have excavators in addition to pollution control measures to achieve operational efficiency. In order to motivate staff of contractors, they are obliged to provide workman insurance scheme for their employees who are indeed exposed to health risk. To address the problem of delayed payment, contractors are to discuss with their bankers for bank guarantee to ensure free flow of funds in the system.

The government, in order to ensure decency has regulated waste disposal period for the public otherwise called garbage time which is now 6pm to 12 midnight. At the same time refuse contractors are now to engage in night evacuation which is most convenient and devoid of the hassles experienced in the day time. Contractors will employ road sweepers in their zones and also carry out litter control including checking the menace of posters and banners in their operational areas.

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Stop Destroying Nation’s Artefacts In Name Of Religion-Don

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A University of Nigeria, Nuskka, lecturer, Dr Joshua Uzuegbu, has urged Nigerians to desist from destroying the nation’s artefacts, especially shrine objects, in the name of religion.
Uzuegbu made the call on Thursday during the 2022 International Museum Day celebration, organised by the National Museum of Unity (NMU) in Enugu.
He described the objects as the “cultural heritage and property handed over to us by our forefathers”.
Uzuegbu, who teaches in the Humanities Unit, School of General Studies in the university, argued that the objects were used in the past to celebrate traditions.
According to him, shrines have a lot of objects, like woods, ivory, stone, Terracotta, glass, bronze, brass and iron, which are driven by spirits invoked into them.
“When we stop worshipping them, they become pieces of wood, useless and powerless,” Uzuegbu said.
He said that instead of destroying them “we should keep them in museums for future generations to see.
“It is disheartening when we destroy these sacred objects due to our new-found religion or being born again.
“I am not saying that the new religion is bad but for the fact that we came from somewhere, there is need to ensure that one religion will not disturb the other.
“There is need to remove whatever that is evil in them as many of those artifacts taken away by the colonial masters, which today are fetching them huge revenue” he said.
He argued that the objects would become ineffective when they are removed from the shrines and no longer honoured with libations.
Earlier, the Director-General of the National Commission For Museums and Monuments (NCMM), Prof. Abba Tijani, said the commission had begun to connect the past with the future, using digital technology.
Tijani, represented by the NMU Curator, Mr Aloysius Duru, said: “The world is gradually moving from analogue to digital space.

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Jeymes Samuel’s Book Of Clarence Debuts, Soon

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Jeymes Samuel has announced that his next project will be based on blacks living in the biblical era.
The singer-songwriter whose 2021 Western ‘The Harder They Fall’ was inspired by the need to introduce diversity in the genre, revealed in a new interview that his new feature titled, The Book of Clarence will be set in the bible times in what he described as “the biggest franchise in the world.”
“The Bible’s the biggest franchise in the world. The biggest superhero, the most famous superhero of all time is Jesus himself,” Jeymes revealed. “But when I used to learn about those things when I was a kid, I used to say to myself, Where did Jesus buy his sandals from? Did he walk around barefoot? Did he buy his clothes or did people just say, “Hey Jesus, wear this?” Was there a particular brand that he liked, or a particular tailor who made his shawl?
“The Bible just gives you bricks. But the mortar you’re meant to fill in yourself. I want to show who he [Jesus] bought them from and what that guy was doing. What the guy that sold him those sandals had for breakfast, for dinner. Who was in the hood? Who was the troublemaker, or the cool dude that the girls liked? Who was the kid with aspirations? Who was the nincompoop? That stuff is what fascinates me about that era. The Book of Clarence is all of that stuff. It’s a really awesome, awesome, awesome tale.”
“I want to tell the tales that we’ve never had before. We’ve never had Black people in the Bible days of cinema. Even when Andrew Lloyd Webber made something as nuanced as Jesus Christ Superstar, there’s no Black people in it, except Judas. Judas was the Black guy. “I’m going to betray you, Jesus.” What the hell? That’s what you’re giving us? That’s the Black guy? You saw what I did with the Western. I want to give people something to talk about.”

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Femi Adebayo’s ‘King Of Thieves’ Grosses Over N250m In Box Office

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A Nollywood Actor, Femi Adebayo, says his new epic movie, titled, ‘King of Thieves’ known as Agesinkole, generated over N250 million in its first three weeks premiere at the cinema.
Adebayo disclosed this in an interview with news men on Sunday in Ilorin.
He said the movie, which cost him several millions of naira to produce, made over N43 million in three days at its first opening at the cinema despite being the Ramadan period.
The popular movie producer- cum lawyer and actor, said that the plan was to leave the film at the cinema for two months where it was expected to make not less than N200 million.
“In the history of Nollywood, no movie has ever made N43 million in three days of its opening at the cinema, that is an amount of money some movies will make in three months.
“The movie has actually paved way for many providers and producers that are producing indigenous contents,” he said.
Adebayo, who disclosed that the movie took him more than a year to produce, said it was a huge success and that he least expectied the acceptability of the work.
He said the movie was his first traditional film, adding that it has always been his dream to produce that kind of movie for so many years in the industry.
“The plan was to do a huge movie that will remind people of the beauty of Yoruba culture and I waited till it was time.
“My intention was to showcase the beauty of Yoruba culture to the entire world and at the same time to be able to say one or two things about the society, especially our leaders.
“When I was much younger, I had the opportunity to see the beautiful works of Albert Ogunde, he showcased that beauty in Yoruba culture being a Yoruba man,” Adebayo said.
Talking about the challenges faced during the production of the movie, Adebayo said he had to embark on a wide research on Ifa as a Muslim.
He further said that finding a location to shoot the film took them a lot of time.
“I saw everything that fascinated me in the location we later got, the village, the river.
“I saw almost 70 per cent of my movie in there even though we had to build more, our caster crew were scared because of insecurity and we had to beef up security.
“If you look at the cast, we had ‘A-List Actors’, it was challenging to get their time together, waiting for them to have a uniform timing took almost one and half year to plan the movie,” Adebayo revealed.
Even though Adebayo refused to put a tag on the cost of the production, he reluctantly nod his head to agree that it crossed a N100 million mark to produce Agesinkole.
Tidesports source reports that “King of Thieves” is an epic tale of Agesinkole, an all-powerful bandit and his reign of terror in the prosperous Kingdom of Ajeromi.
Concerned by his pillaging, the kingdom moves to destroy him, through the hunters, witches and priests, thus beginning this adventurous saga of revenge, bravery and glory.

 

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