Residents and commuters in Adamawa North Senatorial District, North East Nigeria, have expressed dissatisfaction over the solid waste valley on Yola-Mubi highway.
HumAngle learnt that the dumpsite from Doubeli junction to Modibbo Adamawa University has caused numerous accidents, leading to deaths and severe injuries to motorists.
A truck driver who simply identified himself as Samaila told our reporter that many of his colleagues have been involved in accidents as a result of solid waste on the road.
“Many of our drivers have died as a result of the dumpsite which has taken half of the road. In fact, passers-by and children who pick up plastic waste to sell to recyclers have been victims of the accident.
“It’s a one-way road and too small for even two vehicles to pass comfortably. With the dumpsite taking over the road, motorists risk their lives on a daily basis,” he said.
Idris Usman, a roadside butcher and resident of the Zongo community also described the disposal site as a threat to the environment.
“Aside from accidents, the improper waste valley is a serious threat to the environment. Despite trying our best to reduce it, people from different places come here to dispose waste which usually makes our efforts fruitless. I feel it’s only the government that can put an end to this.”
Though the Nigerian government has repeatedly warned against indiscriminate waste disposal, many are still reckless. When wastes are not dropped on the streets, they are dumped in drainages, leading to environmental contamination. When drainages are blocked, hundreds of homes are put at risk, as there will be flooding.
The illegal acts also make Nigeria one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change in the world.
While landfills are the current solution to waste management, the disposal method also has negative effects on the environment, as decomposing waste usually leads to warmer air and creates disastrous greenhouse effects.
A 2012 research by Aliyu Nabego of Kano University of Science and Technology (KUST), shows that recycling activities can significantly reduce the amount of solid waste and help to achieve a safer and healthier working condition.
On the Yola-Mubi highway, some teenagers are often seen collecting recyclable wastes and subsequently selling them to recyclers for stipends. One of the waste collectors, Umar Muhammed, told HumAngle he is worried about the heaps of waste around the highway despite benefiting from it.
“I make money from improper waste disposal but that doesn’t mean I support illegality,” he said.
He added that residents should amend their behaviours by re-using waste like polythene bags.
Meanwhile, the state government in 2021 established the Adamawa State Environmental Protection Agency (ADSEPA) to address the challenge of indiscriminate disposal.
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