Refuse Heaps Dent Calabar’s Cleanest City Image

In Breaking News, Reports

Calabar, the Cross River State capital, once reputed as the cleanest city in Nigeria, is currently “at war” with heaps of refuse, competing for space with residents, Ada Wodu of Punch Newspaper writes.

For some weeks now, the Cross River State Government has been battling to evacuate heaps of refuse all over Calabar, the State capital.

Until recently, everywhere one turned, waste dominated the landscape and threatened to swallow some streets. This lasted for several months. The situation became so bad that residents and vehicles had to maneuver through refuse to get to their destinations within the metropolis.

There was a lot of outcry and outrage over the situation, which many residents said negated the status that Cross River State had been known for, “the cleanest city in the country.”

Everywhere was an eyesore, even as scavengers had a field day rummaging through the wastes in search of what they considered useful. The embarrassing situation calls into question the much-touted tourism destination tag of the State.

The State transformed from the “cleanest city” to “the dirtiest city” in the country, much to the consternation of the residents and visitors alike. It was in the heat of the parties’ primaries that the ugly situation was accentuated.

Everyone seemed to concentrate on the primaries.

From 8 Miles down to the city center and Calabar South, the story of monumental abandoned waste was the same. One of the most affected parts of the metropolis is the popular Watts market, where the waste generated daily is very large. Traders sold edible wares beside the refuse, oblivious of the health hazard they were courting for themselves and their customers. 

Trucks are still clearing refuse from that axis. Heaps of waste were also noticeable at Marian Market, Ekpo Abasi, Mbukpa, and other major areas.

It was as if there was no semblance of governance in place or it had been thrown to the dogs as no agency of government lifted a finger to address the issue even as an epidemic was looming. 

The situation became an issue of serious concern and a subject of discussion among the angry residents, who said things had never been so bad. They seized every opportunity to mock the State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, for allowing waste to overwhelm the city.

Some residents of the State didn’t find it amusing that the Governor was planning to run for the presidency when he couldn’t perform the simple task of clearing ordinary refuse off the streets of the State capital. Social media took the mockery and feasted on it.

Speaking on the waste situation, a resident, Solomon Azu, said, “Cross River State capital, Calabar, popularly known as Canaan City, has over time, been the cleanest city in Nigeria. Cross River State had that record up to a point that early this year we started having refuse heaps everywhere, threatening to even block streets. People cried out that it would cause an epidemic if the government did not evacuate the refuse. That situation has been there for so long. It took the government several months to start evacuating.

“According to the government, we have taken too much refuse where we have the refuse dump at LEMNA, and there are no other dumpsites.

“Thank God now that they have located one far away from the town.

“They have started evacuating refuse from the various dumps. We want to give kudos to the government for responding to the refuse problem in Calabar. We believe that within the shortest possible time, they will be completely evacuated.”

Also speaking on the wastes, a resident of Marina Road, off the beach of Calabar, Wilson Bernard, said, “The refuse situation was an eyesore. For instance, where I live is no longer motorable. Refuse has blocked the road completely, preventing vehicular movement.”

He said that at the time of this report last week, the wastes were being evacuated.

Another resident, Chris Okoro, said, “I am one of those who came to Calabar with the impression that this is the cleanest city in Nigeria. But in the past two months, it has not given me that impression because there has been massive refuse everywhere in the city center, not just on the fringes of Cross River. Several complaints have been made and what you see is that after massive refuse that becomes so big, you see some people complain and complain. They will come and clear it off. Before you know it, the thing will build up to that same size and it will take another hue and cry before it is packed again.”

He said, “This was not the system Calabar was known for. It is terrible. As of today, most of the areas have been cleared again. The problem is that, after clearing, what happens in the next two, three, or four weeks? That is what has been happening in the past two to three months. Before you know it, the whole thing will fill up again and extend to some streets, and the whole place will smell.

He also spoke of the need for the state to embrace technology in waste management by recycling waste.

“Cross River has failed to embrace technology in waste management because we are still using this old method of using a dumpsite, where after packing all the refuse in Calabar, we just go to the area we call LEMNA and dispose of it. After disposing of it, we burn it. That is no longer working or sustainable.

“With the growth of the population, we need to start looking towards technology, embrace recycling. What will it take us to recycle plastic waste? The government should create awareness about proper waste management,” he said.

In some areas, such as Ekpo Abasi, it was gathered that some landlords no longer want the refuse bins to be kept near their houses after the evacuation of the refuse because they don’t want a situation where the bins would get filled up and would not be cleared for months, thereby exposing people in the vicinity to the danger of contracting diseases.

Speaking about the challenges his agency faced which impeded the evacuation of waste for several months, the General Manager, Waste Management Agency, Sunday Oko, said, “The challenge was as a result of the dumpsite that was filled.”

The trucks couldn’t dump and couldn’t come back to carry out the evacuation, thereby causing the heaps of waste experienced in the city.

“We had to bring in more equipment to the dumpsite to push the waste into the ravine and create more space for the trucks to dump and go back for evacuation.”

He denied that the high cost and non-payment of the contractors and workers made them abandon refuse collection, which led to mountainous heaps all over the city.

“Leave speculations. I have told you the main cause as the man in charge. If you believe in speculation, then there is no point talking to me,” he said.

With the agency frantically packing refuse from where it is generated to the dump site, the residents hope that there won’t be a relapse to the immediate and ugly past where residents struggled for space with refuse for several months.

Residents also said that with this year’s carnival fast approaching, the government can only sustain the momentum of clearing refuse from the streets for the state to regain its status in the eyes of visitors as one of the cleanest in the country.

Since You Are Here, Support Good Journalism

CrossRiverWatch was founded on the ideals of deploying tech tools to report in an ethical manner, news, views and analysis with a narrative that ensures transparency in governance, a good society and an accountable democracy.

Everyone appreciates good journalism but it costs a lot of money. Nonetheless, it cannot be sacrificed on the altar of news commercialisation.

Consider making a modest contribution to support CrossRiverWatch's journalism of credibility and integrity in order to ensure that all have continuous free access to our noble endeavor.


New Feature: Don't miss any of our news again.Get all our articles in your facebook chat box.Click the Facebook Messenger Icon below to subscribe now

Text Advert by CRWatch :Place Yours

Will You To Learn How To Make Millions Of Naira Making Special Creams From Your Kitchen?.Click Here

Expose Your Business And Make More Sales. Advertise On Today

You may also read!

Strange Fire Raze Down Shops In Calabar

By Patrick Obia No less than six shops were on Tuesday, October 4, 2022, gutted by fire at Harbor


BREAKING: FG Breaks ASUU’s Rank, Registers Two Academic Unions

By Channels TV The Federal Government on Tuesday broke the ranks of The Academic Staff Union Of Universities (ASUU)


Ayade’s Commissioner, Jake Otu Enyia Arrest Joe Osibu Over Criminal Defamation

By CrossRiverWatch Admin A Commissioner in the current administration of Sen. Ben Ayade Cross River State, Barrister Jake Otu


Leave a reply:

Your email address will not be published.

Mobile Sliding Menu

Share this now