CYNTHIA CHIDINMA IGBOKWE writes that Mr. Obi Nwankwo, Anambra State Commissioner for Environment has said there are heavy penalties for those abusing the operation Dobe Anambra Ocha which he has formally flagged-off as efforts of the Anambra State Environmental Action Campaign.
The campaign is in line with Governor of Anambra state, His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano desires for a healthy and clean Anambra.
Nwankwo addressed a press statement in that regards where he stated thus: ‘’Governor of Anambra State re-assigned me to the Ministry of Environment, from the Ministry of Public Utilities, he gave me the mandate to clean up Anambra State, introduce a culture and lifestyle of care for the environment by Ndi Anambra and residents of Anambra within the shortest possible time.
‘’My team and the hardworking staff of the Ministry of Environment quickly went to work trying to understand what the issues and challenges are. We spoke to various stakeholders including contractors that have been handling waste management in the state, we spoke to Ndi Igwe, community leaders, market leaders, and most importantly Ndi Anambra who are most concerned about the challenges we are having in the state with regards to waste management.
‘’We also reached out to partner Ministries and Waste Management agencies in States with considerable good records in waste management and environmental care trying to understudy their various models.
‘’As part of our investigation, we undertook a tour of Anambra state, doing a digital survey using sophisticated drone equipment so as to fully assess the ecological challenges that face us and the challenges with available dump sites.
‘’We also explored the process of waste dumping, waste collection and management in the state and the relevant laws dealing with waste management in Anambra State.
‘’Our conclusion is that it is possible to have an environmentally clean Anambra state.
‘’However, we cannot achieve our dream of having such a state if ALL the stakeholders including the people themselves do not understand what the issues are, and the roles they are expected to play in the process.
‘’The ministry, knowing the serious environmental challenges facing Anambra state is therefore today declaring ‘A state of emergency in waste management’ in Anambra state. We have termed this Anambra State Environmental Action Campaign under the theme ‘Dobe Anambra Ocha’.
The ministry is committing as follows: Increased efforts in waste collection and management in Anambra State; Faster turnarounds in waste collection; Improved enlightenment and citizen education in the area of waste management.
‘’We expect the support and cooperation of all relevant stakeholders to help us achieve these. As you would have observed in the fliers being distributed, aspects of Anambra state waste management law have been highlighted for Ndi Anambra to know exactly what is expected of them, for example: Bagging of all refuse and waste before taking to waste collection points ; Ensuring that wastes are dumped in designated points; Maintaining waste bins in homes and offices ;Cutting grasses in offices and homes and keeping grasses low and trim and Paying scheduled sanitation and waste management fees to designated government bank accounts as well as Strict observance of last Saturday of every month as environmental sanitation day’’.