Monday, 8 May 2017

Kwata residents accuse ASWAMA of negligence

Image result for pictures of ASWAMA boss

By Gabriel Alonta, ChineduNwaneri
Shop owners around the popular abattoir in the Kwata community in Awka, Awka South Local Government Area, have accused the Anambra State Waste Management Agency (ASWAMA) of neglecting the incessant complaint lodged at its office, seeking the removal of a waste bin positioned very close to their shops.
The traders also decried the attitude of some residents who, instead of disposing their refuse properly inside the bin, dump them indiscriminately, resulting to the environment being littered with the dirt whenever there is flood, adding that the drainage system in the area has been blocked as a result of the hazard.
Orient Daily gathered that the ASWAMA, most times, fail to empty the bin for close to a week, making the area unconducive for human habitation, because of the pungent smell wafting out from the decayed waste.
It was further gathered that several petitions written by the shop owners and concerned residents to ASWAMA, seeking the removal of the waste bin from its present spot, very close to people on the basis of health and general hygiene, have remained ignored.
Residents lamented that having to face such health hazards on a daily basis poses great danger to their lives, their children and even those of their customers, adding that they have lost quite a level of patronage from customers because of the stench from the bin.
Emmanuel Udu, who runs a wholesale drinks shop in the area, said that he had personally appealed to ASWAMA about moving the bin away from their shops, but the agency has failed to listen to his plea.
“ASWAMA workers have been silent on the issue; the time we heard from them, they asked us to provide a land where they will keep it. Tell me if it is our job as citizens to provide lands for government agencies.
“Most times I leave my shop, when the smell coming from the refuse becomes so repugnant that breathing well becomes a problem, especially this rainy season”, he lamented.
An owner of a provision shop in the area, who gave her name as Amara Ani, decried the peril of refuse in the area and the health implication of the strong smell to residents, especially her 11-month-old baby who she brings to shop every day.
“You need to come here when it rains and see for yourself how everywhere will be littered with refuse to the detriment of our health and business.
“I am begging the government to come to our aid because all efforts we have made to convince ASWAMA to consider our health has proved abortive.
“Help us tell the government to come to our aid because this is my means of livelihood and the refuse bin here has chased most of my customers away because of its nasty smell”, she complained.
Also speaking, Bose Adeyemi, a shop owner cum resident of the area expressed her displeasure that ASWAMA officials kept a refuse box around places of human habitation.
“I don’t see why it is so difficult for them to move this bin a little away from us; or is it that we don’t deserve to live a healthy life?” she queried.
Speaking further, Adeyemi said: “This waste bin here has continued to chase my customers away; when rain falls, flood carries the dirt to the front of my shop making the shop not conducive for business.
“It is too bad that privileged residents and other stakeholders who ply this route have continued to act blind to the inconsiderate dumping of refuse in the neighbourhood.
“The government should regulate the dumping of refuse in the area and perhaps bring back the task force to monitor the indiscriminate dumping of refuse, but that should be after moving this one away from here”.
Narrating his ordeal, Ebube Edeh, a carpenter in the area said he would have left the area if he had not fully established there, while appealing to government to look into their matter.
“The problem is that I cannot relocate my shop for the waste bin because of my customers; and that is why we will continue pleading with ASWAMA and the government to urgently come to our rescue by relocating the waste bin to a place far from people’s shops and residence”, he said.
Reacting to the complaints, an ASWAMA official who pleaded anonymity told Orient Daily that the bin has been at that spot, prior to the building of shops in the area; while blaming the landlords of the shops and houses in the area for neglecting the health hazard.
“That bin had been there for over six years. The government specifically built a slab where the bin is being placed.
“How then are they expecting the bin to be moved, when they failed to comply with the building standard”, he retorted.
The official explained that the shops were supposed to be built some feet away from the road where the bin is placed.

According to him, “the position was approved by the government particularly for the waste box; so, if they want us to remove it, they should provide us with an empty land where it will be placed”, he contended.



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