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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Poor Sanitation Exposes How Government Policies of Indiscriminate Waste Disposal Endangers Lives in Kano State Amid Climate Change Threats

By: Janet Jacob
In this report, Herald Reporters, Janet Jacob unravel how the Kano State Government Policy deficiency influences the practice of indiscriminate waste disposal that endanger the lives of many residents in Kano State to diseases and environmental hazards. 
study from the Global Journal of Research and Review says that when wastes are improperly disposed of, it exposes humans to environmental degradation such as flooding, drainage obstruction, widespread infectious diseases, and waterway blockage which leads to an infestation of flies, ticks, and breeding of mosquitoes that cause malaria.
One of the major problems Nigeria is facing today is climate change which continues to portend a serious threat to the achievement of sustainable development goals (SDGs) in the country. The high rate of carbon emission affects every sector of the country’s economy, particularly agriculture and water resources which consequently have health implications as a result of the susceptibility to environmental pollution encompassing air, water, and land, limited access to safe water, and poor sanitation.
Data has revealed that Africa contributes a total of 125 million tonnes per annum with 81 million tonnes (65%) being from sub-Saharan Africa. However, there is a growing concern about the ways these wastes are being managed in municipal areas. For instance, Nigeria gets no fewer than 32 million tons of solid waste yearly but only 20-30% is collected with those collected being burnt down openly or dumped indiscriminately.
Recycling, a thrash for cash method as adopted by some organizations in Nigeria like Sustyvibes,  LASEPARecyclePointsPlasticultured, and Secure Cycle are all safeguarding environmental quality that is consistent with the social and economic needs of the State, and consequently protecting the health, welfare, property, and quality of life.
Despite these efforts, the governments of some states in Nigeria have not yet embraced this sensational health defense method as many citizens are not conscious of their actions and the health implications. The conventional way of randomly creating dumping sites wherever and whenever they want remains a great threat and concern that is calling for prevalent diseases to prowl the health of many Nigerians.
Drainage Filled With Waste
Indiscriminate Waste Disposal inKano Communities 
One of the places this reporter visited is an extreme dumping site in Sabon Gari Community Fegge LGA, where he met a middle-aged woman, Racheal Blessing who complained about how inappropriate dumping of refuse within Sabon Gari has set a drawback for her business.
“You can’t withstand the stench of the huge wastes, especially during the rainy period. We see feces and pampers, routine foods. The people who used to dump it there do it at night, they empty their trash in gutters and some even drop it in front of our shops because they are very close to it as you can see.
“Some customers would go immediately once they perceive the terrible odor, nobody takes the waste at all and I can’t leave this place for any other because of its students’ area.” She said.
The trader disclosed that the improper dumping of refuse and the displeasing odor had caused her to close her shop many times and closing it down has driven many of her customers away. “It affects my sales a lot,” she said.
Recounting her experience with the ugly situation, Racheal narrated how some residents used to curse her whenever she cautions them against the pollution of the environment with their waste. She said this pointing to a sack that she claimed was dropped the previous night after she left the shop.
The trader added that she has made several attempts to reach out to the government to get the heaps of waste evacuated from her shop, however, her effort yielded no positive response.
This reporter observed that in the whole of Sabon-Gari area, which is the most organized area in the whole of Kano with over 30 streets, there is no single trace of waste coast where residents can empty their waste and the agency responsible will come and pick them up.
Murtala Muhammed Way a Hub for Unending Smell
Murtala Muhammed way is one of the busiest roads in the heart of Kano, housing almost all the headquarters of all commercial banks like GT-Bank, Access Bank, Zenith Bank, Fidelity Bank, and FCMB.
Sadly, this road has become one of the most populated roads with factory waste in the drainages and with offensive smell causing different health risks and making life difficult not just for businesses around the area but also for commuters plying the road on a daily basis.
Residents who are frustrated by this smell lament government neglect stating that the smell is from one of the factories along the area narrating that the smell has been there for the past 7 years, causing discomfort for business owners.
Usman Bala, 38, a furniture seller beside DHL, described the constant smell caused by these factories as negligence from the government that doesn’t care about her citizens.
“Most of these factories are owned by foreigners, they won’t dear do this in their country, but because our government and its officials can be bought, they neglect this smell even though we have raised the alarm severally.
Hajara Aliyu, lament how she has lost most of her customers due to the bad smell which keeps them away.
“I now go back home with my food, running a loss on a daily basis, as the smell keeps increasing, no one will want to sit to eat or even buy food from me, it is frustrating my business and I am already thinking of stopping as I can’t even raise the money used to cook the food not to talk of profit,” Hajara said.
Road Side Turn Refuse Dump in Tarauni
Similar to the Sabon-Gari Community, Tarauni, a community that is even located some kilometers away from the Kano State Government House and connecting with the Government Residential Areas (GRA), streets are littered with heaps of dirts across streets.
Residents of this community lamented that the main road that enters the community is always covered up with excessive floods during the rainy season as a result of the illegal disposal of waste. This menace has worsened to the extent that divers get stranded and commercial and farmers bring their products to the market for exchange.
Speaking with Herald Reporters, (Market Leader in Tarauni Market), Alhaji Garba Sani reveals that the lack of proper drainages and proper waste disposal has contributed to this problem. “What we need is a good drainage system here, people just drop their refuse on the flood and this is a big problem.” He noted.
Wheelbarrow Pusher Taking Responsibility 
Danladi Kabir, a wheelbarrow pusher in Badawa was resting after a long day of work under a wooden tent with a group of six others, among which is Sadiq Bala, who claimed he is from Katsina State by origin but has resolving packing dirt in Kano from one location to another.
Sadiq complained about the poor sanitation process and blamed the government for not providing a place for the people to dump their dirt.
“We collect this dirt from people’s houses since there is no specific location designated by the government for refuse disposal, we just see anywhere and we dump it and go to hustle for more dirt, this is where we make our money from,” Sadiq said.
Sadiq also confirmed that potholes, floods, and improper waste management affect the people in the community and no actions were taken by the government to curb this spread.
He said, “Even the people are not helpful, some of them instead of paying them to help them collect their waste from their doorstep, will prefer to empty at night inside their drainages, this has badly contributed to the flooded areas during the rainy season as most of the drainages are already blocked with dirt. The government is not paying me a dime.”
Kano State a Hub for Malaria
In Nigeria, about 31.9 percent of the global malaria deaths which is approximately 200,000 deaths in 2021 are recorded. The World Health Organization defines malaria as a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
Nigeria’s total malaria cases had a record of  3.18 million with Kano State being the lead. In 2020, the government disclosed that they spent billions of naira to distribute insecticide nets to local governments. Despite this measure, Kwara State still has a high prevalence of occurrence in the country. Children under 5 accounted for about 80% of all malaria deaths as the country was home to 96% of deaths in 2020 out of the estimated 241 million cases reported worldwide.
The United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF) disclosed that Nigeria is on the verge of collapse because a child under five dies of malaria every 75 seconds with this death toll translating into 74% (416,000) of deaths that claimed the lives of young children in the country. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also posits that there will be a constant increase for a country like Nigeria which has not yet developed a strong immunity to the disease.
Also, Water pollution causes a greater percentage of death to aquatic life because their existence depends on water and when there is any disturbance in their ecosystem like an abundant growth of algae, the oxygen content becomes lesser thereby causing the death of fish and other organisms with 100 million marine lives being lost each year.
Ministry of Environment’s Position 
Herald Reporters contacted the Spokesperson of the Kano State Ministry of Environment, Ibrahim Danjuma, via SMS, phone call, and Whatsapp messages but he refused to speak with our reporter saying, “I can’t tell a journalist anything,” he shouted.
Indiscriminate Wastes Disposal is a Pandemic” – Expert
An Environmental Scientist and Health Safety expert, Shuaibu Idris, from the department of environmental science at Bayero University Kano, has revealed that the problem of waste disposal in Kano State has become a pandemic and a joint effort will be required to curb its continuous spread.
He said, “Indiscriminate waste disposal is a product of poor implementation and enforcement of policies on the waste management system. The problem is pandemic and its solution must be a joint effort starting from the household level.
Speaking on solutions, the experts advised that the Government should place waste containers in strategic locations across communities and also educate people on recycling.



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