• Monday, March 04, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

CSO urges Otti to declare emergency over pollution, illegal refuse disposal in Aba

Alex Otti leading in Abia

Youth and Students Advocates for Development Initiative (YSAD), a civil society organisation, has advised Alex Otti, Abia State governor-elect, to declare emergency on pollution and illegal refuse disposal in the state, especially Aba, the state’s commercial hub.

Obinna Nwagbara, executive director, YSAD, gave the advice in Aba, during an awareness campaign to mark the 2023 World Earth Day.

YSAD in collaboration with Onyedinma Foundation, (OnyeFund) Vivacious Development Initiative, (VIDI) Initiative for Rural Revival and Enlightenment (IRRE) and Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy and Development (FENRAD), embarked on voluntary plastic cleanup exercise and enlightened Aba residents on the dangers of poor refuse disposal.

With poor refuse disposal, Aba gutters are clogged up, resulting in thickened sludge breeding mosquitoes and other vectors. According to the United Nations health agency, the World Health Organisation (WHO), Nigeria accounted for 31 percent of global malaria deaths in 2021 alone. One of the environmental challenges facing Aba today is plastic pollution.

From sachets to straws, can to water bottle and the rest, plastic wastes are indiscriminately littered in Aba, including in its major town and landmarks, where such wastes form mountain range.

Since Abia, as a state, has no formidable recycle culture, these wastes constitute health hazards to the public. Too, they are non-biodegradable and pollution agent and therefore through long years of decomposition mar the environment.

Consequently, Nwagbara, called on Abia State governor-elect, to create a road map for a new environmental regime, stressing that environment must form plank of the agenda and policy of the incoming government.

“Though the past administrations may have done their bit and best, the need to spotlight Aba environment is compelling, the more. Market places too are not left out. School Road, Clifford Road, Asa Road and other areas near Aba-based markets have continued to suffer illegal refuse dumping.

“The incoming government must start with environment, whether it is building infrastructure or recovering the Enyimba city; so it is imperative it has a working document on how to go about restoring Aba and Abia,” he said.

YSAD and partners believe that the best option to sanitize Aba, is to declare emergency against pollution and illegal refuse disposal.

Over 193 countries and 1 billion persons Saturday, April 22, 2023, celebrated Earth Day. As a youth-focused group working on environment, gender, democracy, police reforms and other sundry areas of social justice and climate justice interventions, Youth and Students Advocates for Development Initiative and its partners wish to celebrate this special day and to also raise awareness on environmental recklessness which has marred the world.

The environment, they say, is man’s first wealth and foremost fortune. Experts called it the “common good,” hence any action that depletes rather than restore it, no matter where (under)taken, undermines our collective future as a global family of humans.

The theme of the 2023 Earth Day is “Invest in our Planet”, a theme Nwagbara described as critical and self-explanatory.