Calabar, the Cross River State capital, has variously been described as the cleanest city in the country. With the state establishing and fighting to maintain its status as a tourism hub, the tag does not exactly come as a surprise.
Even if you win an election as a governor and just fail to keep the town clean for one month, you will hear public reaction. There is nothing anybody can do about it. It has come to stay.
But recently Waste collectors have protest against non-payment of fees.
The Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, has appealed for patience as the government tackles the situation.
The governor made the appeal on Monday after inspecting dump sites in Calabar as part of efforts at ensuring effective waste management in the city.
Mr. Ayade, who visited the Lemna dump site, expressed surprised at the level of stench oozing out of the over 30 trucks waiting to discharge waste at the area,
“It is unacceptable and totally unhealthy for both wastes and human beings to coexist side by side as we have witnessed here today,” the governor said.
“I am sure that when this place was designated as dump site, nobody was living here. But now that it is sharing the same environment with human beings, we have to consider an alternative dump site.”
The governor appealed to the people of the state to be patient with him as he works to ensure proper waste disposal in the city in line with the clean and green status of the state.
“Once more, I want to plead with you for your understanding as my team and I aggressively seek to address the challenge of waste disposal,” he continued.
“We are concerned about your interest, health, welfare, safety and security. These are keys to me. Have a little patience; this waste will soon be a thing of the past.”
While looking for a site, the governor said his administration was deploying more bulldozers to push the refuse further into the ravine located in the area and compact it too.
He blamed the growing heaps of refuse seen in many parts of the metropolis and its environs on the fact that the traditional dump site along Lemna Road had been filled to capacity.
He said, “The Lemna Road where we have our traditional refuse dump is completely filled. We are trying to see how we can push back the refuse further down, but it appears that the dump site has reached its maximum carrying capacity.”
While arguing that refuse collection was not a challenge to the state, he, however, noted that what constituted a problem was the disposal.
To address the problem, Mr. Ayade said the government had concluded plans to partner with a team from Israel and Dublin to carry out proper waste management that entails segregation and optimal utilization.
The governor later moved from the Lemna Road dump site to a proposed dump site in Idundu, a settlement located in the outskirts of Calabar.
“We are making a proactive attempt to look for an alternative dump site to address the issue of waste disposal. The challenge we have currently is not one of waste evacuation but that of disposal.
“So we are looking for how to make a calibration that is within reasonable distance from the city centre with a price reasonable, which is the reason for this new location here in Idundu.”
The governor, however, said he budgetary provision for waste disposal in the state had been increased to meet the challenges of the time.
“I beg of you, recognise that I have you at heart, the challenge is temporary. I am already working out the solution. We will soon overcome this,” Mr. Ayade pleaded with Calabar residents.
“It is very certain now that I have gotten a new location and within the next two or three weeks, I would have made this location available for waste disposal to commence properly.”
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