Indiscriminate Refuse Dump, Cause Of Soil Degradation And Erosion In Akwanga Town

By Tashi Manasseh

Akwanga Local Government Area of Nasarawa State has Akwanga town as its local government headquarters. Akwanga town is the beating heart of Nasarawa State, connecting various routes to cities such as Lafia, the state capital, Abuja, Keffi, Jos, and Kaduna.

Akwanga town has about three tertiary institutions and three financial institutions, with other big private and government establishments as well as several businesses.

Eggonnews observed that there is a menace that is making the otherwise beautiful town of Akwanga unsightly and risky as it poses great threats to the public and the residents. There is an increase in indiscriminate waste disposal by residents. Our correspondent took a tour to various locations in the town to observe and reports that there is a high rate of indiscriminate waste disposal in drainage, high roads, commercial areas, and residential areas.

The mass generation of refuse by man is a major concern as it results in soil erosion indirectly.

Refuse is dumped indiscriminately into water bodies and around the environment, ending up in our drainage systems. When refuse is dumped indiscriminately into drainage systems, it accumulates and results in blocked drains, thereby preventing the free flow of water, which eventually leads to an accumulation of water and then to soil erosion. When drains which are supposed to arrest waste water are covered by refuse, the water tends to flow across the soil, leading to soil erosion.

Refuse dumped into an eroded area by FRSC office Wamba Road, Akwanga

More so, the dumping of refuse into water bodies gradually increases the water level as much of the refuse may not dissolve in water. When this continues for so long, the water level of such a body increases gradually, and, sooner or later, it will overflow and lead to soil erosion.

Again, a study by Blaco and Lal in 2016, shows that indiscriminate waste disposal restricts the movement of water to a specific channel, thus cutting into the soil. When refuse clogs areas where water should have flowed into the seas and oceans, the water returns to the environment, causing soil erosion.

Our findings revealed that the source of refuse in Akwanga town is not limited to those collected by the street cleaning service or scavenging. There is also the refuse collected by young boys who pack refuse for commercial purposes, which consists of leaves, straw paper, animal droppings, and litter of all kinds. Market refuse is also collected which contain a large proportion of putrid vegetables, animal matter, and stable litter, which is collected from stables which contain mainly animal droppings and left-over animal feeds.

Other sources include domestic refuse, which consists of ash, rubbish and garbage, which comprises of paper, clothes, vegetable peels, waste food, sachet wraps, plastic bottles etc.

In 2019, the Nasarawa State Government flagged off the planting of 1.3 million trees across the State. In Akwanga Local Government Area, the exercise was carried out, particularly on Saturday, August 31st.

It is believed that this is one of the government’s efforts to tackle the issue of erosion in the state, particularly in Akwanga.

It was also observed that in Kurmin Tagwaye along Wamba Road, there is a mass of land where tick trees were planted some decades ago.

All these are State Government interventions to mitigate the problem of erosion.

In 2018, the Federal Government flagged the dualization of the Keffi-Akwanga-Lafia-Makurdi expressway, located within Nasarawa and Benue states, which covers 220 kilometers. One of the areas of focus for the contract is the construction of drainage on the expressway.

While the dualization of the road in Akwanga town is ongoing, the drainage on the highways is also in progress. This is also compared to an intervention from the federal government to mitigate the menace of erosion in the State.

But the big question of the moment is what relevant stakeholders are doing to tackle this menace. Efforts are made to handle other futuristic occurrences, but what about the issue at hand? Even as the rainy season approaches, the first rain will wash all that refuse indiscriminately into the water bodies through the drainage. Drainages will be blocked as a result of that rubbish preventing the free flow of water in the water channel. That will not only mean that the aquatic animals in bodies of water will be affected, and the water will not be safe for consumption.

Mr Babre Habu, the Acting Disease Control Officer of Akwanga Local Government

Speaking to our correspondent in his office, Mr. Babre Habu, the Acting Disease Control Officer of Akwanga Local Government, stated the following factors associated with indiscriminate refuse disposal, which include; nonchalant attitude of the public; population explosion; absence of sanitary dump sites; shortage of manpower to check and enforce compliance.

“The carefree attitude of people in society today results in indiscriminate refuse disposal in the environment because people do not care about the implications that such particular refuse will have on the environment nor do they worry about their health.”

Babre stated that, the rapid growth in the population today in urban cities also leads to indiscriminate refuse dumping. The greater the increase in the population, the more waste is generated through the activities of man. Lack of law enforcement in society means a lack of implementation of environmental rules and regulations that safe-guard the health of the public in society. Also, give room for this indiscriminate disposal of refuse. This is because, even if people are violating the laws, government agencies will do nothing because of bribery, corruption, and a lack of law enforcement.

He also stated that the office of disease control at the Primary Health Care of Akwanga has mapped out strategies to educate people on the need for proper waste disposal.

He added that his office has embarked on house-to-house awareness creation on environmental health sanitation with an emphasis on indiscriminate refuse disposal.

Babre disclosed that there are many ways in which refuse can be disposed of depending on the nature of refuse in the locality and the availability of labor and finance. These methods include: sanitary landfill or controlled tipping, composting, incinerating.

While advising citizens in Akwanga to be disciplined in handling refuse properly and do the needful, he called on the government to provide adequate manpower and provide sanitary equipment and facilities in the Local Government Area.

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