Residents of Uyo, the state capital, have expressed concern over the stench from the state dumpsite, saying it is posing a health threat to the people.
Mostly affected were workers at the government house, Wellington Bassey Way, the state judiciary headquarters and Uyo Local Council Secretariat, all located along Wellington Bassey Way in Uyo.
This is even as refuse heaps have again begun to pile up in parts of the town after an emergency intervention late last month following public outcry over heaps which were visible in all parts of the state capital.
The dumpsite located inside a ravine along Uyo village road came into use after it was relocated from the old site located near a residential area, where its stench became toxic and the government was forced to fund the relocation of some residents whose health was affected.
Though it signed an MOU with a private company for a relocation to a more convenient location far from the city, nothing has been done in that regard as the stench inconveniences the surrounding offices.
This is even as the Uyo village road, where the dumpsite is located has been reduced to a track, barely enough for a vehicle to pass as waste trucks dump refuse collected from various parts of the city along the road.
It is observed that the delay by the Akwa Ibom State Waste Management Board in evacuating waste has raised health concerns in the state.
Investigation by The Guardian revealed that most of these sites are without receptacles, especially in poor residential areas, such as Atiku Abubakar Avenue, Ikot Ekpene road, Itu-Calabar road, Ikot Ambang, Itam market, IBB way, Nwaniba road, Obio Imoh street, among others.
A resident at Afaha Ube and State Publicity Secretary Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Ernest Udoh-Robert, said: “It is unfortunate that a state adjudged to be the cleanest for four consecutive years could allow the capital city to be overtaken by filth and the air saturated with stench.
But a senior official of the State Environmental and Sanitation Management Agency, who preferred anonymity, said that the high price of diesel has been affecting their operations.
He explained that they are planning to hire the necessary equipment needed to evacuate accumulated refuse as a cost-saving measure.
“Our problem is diesel. The high cost of diesel is affecting our evacuation machinery. But we are waiting to evacuate it during a sanitation exercise this weekend. You know we have trucks but we hire most of the other equipment needed for the evacuation like bulldozers and compactors once a month.
“So since the government is the one subsidizing us we intend to use the opportunity of this weekend’s sanitation exercise to utilize that other equipment that government will hire to evacuate the refuse although in some areas we are already evacuating.”