Driving around the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) city centre today, it is not hard to observe the very clean and sanitized environment that not only adds to the beauty of the city but also makes life more comfortable in the nation’s capital.
It is partly for this and other reasons of advancement in infrastructure provisions that the FCT has been adjudged as one of the most beautiful cities in Africa, making the nation’s capital a place of pride for all Nigerians.
However, a very unfortunate situation was observed in the FCT a couple of weeks ago which threatened to destroy the sanitation and hygiene for which the FCT city centre is very famous.
As it happened, some of the refuse collection points in parts of the city had been left unattended to, making these places very unsightly with piles of refuse, in addition to the very foul smell that emanated from them.
This ugly development had spread panic among residents who were not only very worried about the putrid stench, but also the impact that some of the wastes that had spilled onto the driveways was having on vehicular movements.
There were also very serious concerns that the situation could lead to another outbreak of cholera in the FCT which had recently suffered an outbreak of the disease.
However, the situation is different today as sanitation has once again been restored in the FCT with all the heaps of garbage evacuated, returning the very beautiful and hygienic environment that the FCT city centre is often identified with.
One must really commend the FCT Administration for the swift manner it had intervened, through the instrument of the Abuja Environmental Protection Agency (AEPB) to evacuate the backlog of wastes in some parts of the city centre which had become serious eyesore.
Prior to the intervention, residents had inundated the FCT Administrations with complaints about the discomfort that the situation was causing for lives and livelihoods in the FCT.
During the interphase between residents and the FCT Administration, it was discovered that some of the waste cleaning contractors in the FCT had been unable to mobilize to site to clear the wastes due to issues of bureaucracy that led to delays in the renewal of their contracts.
The activities of these waste contractors were also said to have been slowed down by the delays in the payment of their contractual sums, forcing some of them to temporarily withdraw their services.
These unfortunate developments no doubt exposed how very quickly a beautiful city like the FCT could take a turn for the worse when the relevant agencies of government and other stakeholders fail to perform their duties.
While the FCT Administration must be commended for the recent intervention in addition to other city sanitation programmes that have ensured that the FCT environment remains among the best in the continent, must however address the issues of documentation that affected the performance of the waste cleaning contractors which led to their recent no show.
In the same vein, FCT residents also have very important roles to play in ensuring that waste management system in the FCT is not jeopardized by their actions and inactions. From available information, FCT residents are said to be in the habit of not paying their refuse collection bills which is also hampering waste evacuation activities in the nation’s capital.
It is worthy of mention that waste management the world over, including the FCT, is a highly capital-intensive project and as such could not be left to the government alone.
Consequently, residents must endeavour to fulfil their side of the obligation by ensuring that refuse collection bills are paid as at when due, to enable the FCT Administration also offset its contractual obligations to the waste cleaning contractors.
Additionally, FCT residents must also ensure that waste collection bins or receptacles are provided at the various waste collection points so that the wastes that are generated would be adequately packaged in the bins to prevent them from spilling into the drains or the driveways. This is of very particular importance because if wastes are not properly packaged, the microbes within could escape into the environment to contaminate the air and waters posing dangers to the air and aquatic life.
Residents must also realize that the FCT being the nation’s capital is like a window through which the rest of the world views the country because not only is the city home to the diplomatic community, it is also a major international conference destination. As such, whatever action that is done to deface the environment, has a wider implication on the image of the country.
In going forward, FCT residents and other stakeholders must join hands with the government to ensure that waste management in the FCT is given the adequate attention that it deserves in order to preserve the clean and safe environment and protect the status of the city as one of the best in Africa.
Gudu District, FCT, Abuja