By O’star Eze
Volunteers of Clean Neighbourhood Initiative (CNI) have called on Anambra State government to enforce laws that would arrest and prosecute persons found disposing waste indiscriminately.
The pro-environment group made this call recently as they observed their maiden sensitization and awareness campaign against filthy environment in Awka metropolis, Anambra State.
Bearing rakes, shovels and placards with inscriptions such as “cleaner neighbourhood is business friendly”, “Environment; our life, our hope, our future” and “Stop indiscriminate dumping of wastes,” the group went to Eke Awka Market, Amawbia junction, Aroma junction. Amenyi Market and various streets of Awka preaching good waste management habits among the residents, and demonstrating how to properly dispose waste and clean drainage systems.
Speaking with journalists during the campaign, the founder and chairperson of the group, Lady Gloria Obuekwe expressed disgust at how it has become a culture in Anambra State for people to throw away their wastes in drainage systems and on the road.
Obuekwe observed that people are not conscious of how serious the implications of littering their environment is and “need a stronger message on the necessity of a beautiful, healthy and cleaner environment.”
“No one comes out on sanitation day. They behave as they like and do not even know that there is sanitation law. We need these laws to be enforced now so that people would comply because a healthy environment is one of the primary things that would ensure your long life,” she said.
The CNI chairperson said that she had done a comparative study of environmental issues in Nigeria and advanced countries and realized that Anambra State and Nigeria in general are at the brink of an environmental crisis with its attendant adverse effect if people do not consciously keep their environments clean and healthy.
While appreciating Governor Willie Obiano for the work of the Anambra State Waste Management Agency (ASWAMA), she stressed that the agency is not enough to manage wastes in Anambra insisting the need for robust laws in the state which would address indiscriminate waste disposal among its residents.
She also advocated for others to set up sister non-government organisations like CNI which would carry on this message of cleanliness and aesthetics to all and sundry.
One of the volunteers, 63 years old, Julie Nwobu, who retired as a teacher and studied Health Science said that she became a volunteer because she knows that “cleanliness is next to godliness” and that if the environment is kept clean, the health of the people would improve.
She called out persons who drop plastic bags, urine and faeces in the gutters and on the roads to stop as “they block the gutters and constitute health hazards to the people.” She reiterated the need for government to enforce proper waste disposal.
Another volunteer, 22 years old Stanley Chukwuebuka Ezebuora said he volunteered to be part of the group because he has seen the need to make cleanliness a priority given the health and aesthetic benefits. He pledged to go on spreading the message via his social media handles.
Pastor Christopher Madugu, who was observing the volunteers as they went about cleaning the drainages applauded them saying that it is a practice that everyone should embark on. He said that the message of clean environment is a noble one and promised to make it an integral part of his sermon.