Illegal dumps in Ogun communities create fear of epidemic

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Rubbish dumps are gradually taking over Alagbole, Olori, Abule Ekun and Oke Aro communities, in the Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State, as every available space and drainage channels have been turned into illegal dumps.

 

It was gathered that the development was the consequence of lack of government rubbish dumps in the communities.

An environmental expert said the indiscriminate waste disposal in the area was an invitation to an epidemic.

Our correspondent, who visited some of the illegal rubbish dumps, observed that the dumps were located at the heart of the communities.

All the dumps visited were manned by attendants, who collected money before anyone disposed refuse.

The men declined comment on their mode of operation and the management of the dumps.

PUNCH Metro also observed that the dump in Alagbole was close to a river.

The attendant at the site, who refused to disclose his identity, said, “Baale is the person who asked us to fill this place (the river). We don’t collect more than N100 from whoever comes to dispose of refuse. Once they bring their waste, we receive them. We normally burn everything during the dry season.”

At the dump in Oke-Aro, the attendant did not allow our correspondent access to the site, insisting that only his boss could give the permission.

A resident, who identified himself as Saga, however, said, “We pay N300 per trip to dump our refuse.”

A landlord at the Obanla area of Enilolobo, Oke Aro, where a rubbish dump is situated, Mr. Alabi Ogunbukola, lamented the foul smell in the area caused by the dump.

Ogunbukola said, “The smoke and foul smell from the dump have been discouraging people, especially tenants, from staying here. There is no fresh air to breathe around here. Some residents of this densely-populated community suffered respiratory diseases, and it is not unconnected with the presence of the dump.”

A community development association leader in Olori, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said attempts to stop indiscriminate disposal of refuse in the area had failed.

“In 2012, we attempted to stop the use of that place as a refuse dump. I visited the baale to say it was not safe for residents, but my efforts failed. They probably want to fill that place up so as to sell it,” he said.

Also, a top government source told our correspondent that the Oke Aro rubbish dump was approved by the Ifo LGA.

However, the Commissioner for Environment, Ogun State, Mr. Bolaji Oyeleye, said there was no government approved rubbish dump in the Akute and Alagbole areas.

“There is no official dump in the Alagbole and Akute areas, but there are pockets of places where residents have been dumping their refuse,” Oyeleye said.

An environmental expert, Mrs. Nike Olokode, lamented the indiscriminate waste disposal in the area, adding that it exposed residents to environmental health hazard.

Besides perennial flooding, she noted that an epidemic was inevitable if the improper waste disposal was not decisively addressed in the area.

She said, “People are just eager to see their domestic waste leave their premises. They are ignorant that it comes back to them some other ways.

“Men who use carts to collect domestic waste for a fee and managers of sites, where such are dumped, lack required competence. Therefore, disposed wastes are fed back into the system through air and water. Consequently, ill health, environmental insanitary and similar hazard may result.”

Source: Punch

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