•Challenges of Abuja’s poor waste disposal

From Idu Jude, Abuja


Poor waste disposal education, inadequate waste management practices and the prevalence of illegal dumping sites and recycling plants are some of the pressing issues facing waste management authorities in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

For example, experience has shown that cases of irregular collection, inadequate provision of receptacles for communities or door-to-door collection and insufficient coverage, among others, have dealt a big blow to the efforts of the government in transforming Abuja into a megacity.

Ibrahim Dangiwa, retired Director, Federal Housing Authority (FHA), rued the FCT programme on waste recycling: “There was a time when the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), through its agency, the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), was up and doing but suddenly, the policy of another new administration made things change with an abrupt stop of solid waste recycling plant in Goza, a suburb of the FCT.”

Pastor Ben Nwachukwu, said: “What we have in Abuja is a place where people await the rain to come down and stomp refuse inside drainages as the only way to dispose of refuse. And, if you look around, you discover that refuse has taken over most of the communities.

“A typical example is the Federal Secretariat, which is a major hub. In 2000, I was in Adelaide, Australia, for three weeks during an Olympic game.

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What I saw was where shredded leaves spread on the walkways. I did not see where they burned them. Also, I went to Japan in 2002 and experienced the same thing. I saw refuse dumps along the roads.

“Here in Abuja, it is normal to see people walking along the road corridors. How does Abuja think of being a mega city with such a lifestyle? I suggest that the present administration should bring back the policy of cleaning the FCT if we dream of having a megacity.”

Nwachukwu noted that non-gated communities outside the Abuja metropolis have neighbourhood waste dumps as communal collection points, which he said that government can work on: “In contrast, the municipal waste collection agency provided gated communities with communal waste bins.

The trend also has put a deficit in revenue generation with the closure of a recycling plant at Goza meant to create jobs and have positive economic impact to the FCT administration.

“One existing waste management procedure in the country is rapidly turning into a national problem and are unsustainable, creating an apparent

environmental concern. Several checks have linked inefficient waste management methods to adverse effects on the ecosystem, energy use, climate change, and environmental degradation.”

Mrs. Rosaline Belgore, an environ- mental protection advocate said the collection of waste in Abuja via these two methods results in separate fractions that would allow the recovery of recyclable materials: “In Abuja the municipal waste authority initially collects healthcare waste in separate containers.

“But at the dumpsite, they lump them together with biodegradable and non- biodegradable waste materials. This can constitute threat to public health, as already established operators of re- cycling plants. More so, this defeats the environmental benefits of waste segregation at the source.”