DAY BAUCHI WENT TO WAR AGAINST FILTH
Worried by the havoc of man-made environmental hazards which trigger natural disasters such as flooding, the National Orientation Agency, (NOA) Bauchi State, recently organised an environmental sanitation exercise in the state capital.
The agency said the collective environmental sanitation exercise carried out on Saturday July 30, was inspired by the huge casualties usually recorded whenever natural disasters occur and the need to prevent the spread of diseases such as malaria and typhoid.
The agency noted with concern that the state has this year had its share of disasters such as flooding which brought sorrows and tears to many families.
Led by the NOA director in the state, Hajia Jummai Liman Bello, the agency has come up with an idea to curtail the monster employing also public enlightenment and awareness creation.
'Malaria and typhoid fevers as well as cholera, have been identified as major killers of our people. These are associated with poor environmental conditions,' says Hajia Liman Bello.
So, recently, NOA embarked on an environmental sanitation exercise, mobilising men and machine with a view to clearing debris and drainage channels in the metropolis to ensure free flow of water and prevent flooding.
Assisted by relevant stakeholders in the environment sub-sector, Hajia Bello coordinated the exercise as the caterpillars and tipper lorries were mobilised in the neighbourhoods to clear several mountains of refuse.
'The collective effort is very important and we really thanked the state government and all the stakeholders for their support. It has been very tasking but very necessary, she told Daily Sun, clutching a pile of handbills which bore the message: Don't litter the Environment: Keep Nigeria Clean.
At Gwallagan, Hajia Bello lamented that lives and property were lost to flooding this year. She expressed optimism that if similar exercises were sustained across the country, they would go a long way in curtailing both man-made and natural disasters.
The NOA Director hinted that the environmental exercise was carried out by the agency with assistance from the Bauchi Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis, and Leprosy (BACATMA), the Bauchi State Environmental Protection Agency (BASEPA) and the state's Ministry of Health.
Mrs. Bello said the effort was also being supported by the state's Ministry of Environment, the Environmental Health Associations of Nigeria, Bauchi State Chapter, Tippers Association and Wunti Market Artisan Associations and traditional rulers in the state.
She called on the state governor, Isa Yuguda to re-introduce the monthly environmental exercise in the state for a clean environment just as she appealed to the chairmen of the 20 local government areas in the state to reintroduce the weekly sanitation exercise in their local government areas.
She lamented that such exercises which served to keep the environment clean and prevent diseases had been abandoned.
She expressed happiness that the environmental sanitation exercise carried out in Gwallagan was to clear the refuse which had piled up in some parts of the city as well as to clear the drainage system which had been blocked.
The NOA boss said: 'As you are aware, we are in the rainy season. We received reports from the various agencies dealing with environmental issues in the state concerning the menace of flooding in some parts of the country and how to prevent such in the state.
'We are involved in clearing the drainages to ensure free flow of flood. Most of the drainages have been blocked because people throw all manners of things inside them, especially polythene bags.'
She also used the opportunity to call on the people of the state, particularly housewives, not to litter their surroundings with polythene materials. She stated that such things erode the value of the soil and serve as environmental hazards.
She called on housewives to separate items of polythene which she said could be a source of fuel for burning firewood rather than discard them and litter the environment.
'Government should mobilise sanitary officers to go from house to house to talk to the people, most especially the housewives, on the danger of littering the environment,' she said.
She remarked that more of such exercises would be embarked upon to sustain the current efforts at keeping the city clean. She commended the state government's support for NOA activities in the state and for making it possible to mobilise the stakeholders for the environmental sanitation exercise.
A traditional ruler, the Sarkin Ayuka, commended the efforts of NOA and the other stakeholders for the collective exercise and called on the people of the state to organise similar exercise in their houses and neighbourhoods in order to keep the environment clean at all times.
He commended all the stakeholders for the sacrifices they made for the success of the exercise, saying it would go a long way to boosting the morale of the people to embark on similar exercises at individual and community levels.
Another stakeholder and a participant in the environmental sanitation exercise, Aliyu Abubakar who represented the Permanent Secretary, Wazirin Yaya Jallam of BASEPA, commended the NOA for rallying all stakeholders to embark on the exercise.
He said: 'It is the mandate of BASEPA to provide a clean, healthy and sustained environment and this collective exercise organised by NOA demonstrates that having such an environment is both an individual and a collective responsibility.'
Speaking on behalf of the artisans and traders of Wunti market, their chairman, Muhammadu Bahauche, while commending NOA for organising the exercise, said his members had made it a point of duty to carry out similar exercises on fixed days to clean the environment. Defaulters are heavily fined, he added.
'I really appreciate NOA for this exercise and I want to call on everyone to continue to support it because keeping the environment clean is for our own benefit,' he said.
BACATMA Director, Dr Mohammed Liman, represented by Aliyu Jibril Wandas said BACATMA was always willing to lend a helping hand because the agency was created by Governor Isa Yuguda to prevent diseases such as malaria. He noted that with the exercise, breeding grounds for mosquitoes were being reduced.
He hinted that: 'The state has so far distributed over 2.4 million treated mosquito nets to prevent human-mosquito contact, but we can prevent more people from contracting diseases such as malaria and typhoid fever when the environment is kept clean like we are doing today.'