BY: VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
General Manager, Cross River State Waste Management Agency, Mr.Sunday Oko, has assured residents that the Indiscriminate dumping of refuse across the length and breathe of the state will soon be a thing of the past.
Already the state government has signed million dollar contract with a French firm for Waste to energy in the state.
It would be recalled that the Waste Management Agency had conducted a 17 months survey which had been signed by the state governor on behalf of the state and the French firm.
The firm eager to commence work on the waste to energy had gone back to formerly sign Bond with banks and other Stakeholders.
This information was confirmed by the General Manager, Mr. Sunday Oko while speaking to our Correspondent at Otop Abasi street while on evacuation exercise.
Answering further questions, he said “I said we carried out a market survey for 17 months. From February 2021 July 2022. We have submitted the report. The governor has approved the contract and they have gone back to France to apply for financial approval for them to move to site. We have allocated land to them along Idundun in Akpabuyo local government area of the state”.
According to him, “very soon we shall begin to take waste to the site to convert to energy. It is waste to energy project. To provide light for Calabar. That is the aim of the project. When we start the project, there shall be no waste on the road again”.
Currently, “we are doing enumeration in the state capital now. We are going to provide rolling bin labelled to every house hold in Calabar. Trucks will be moving from streets to streets collecting wastes. We will not need the waste bin we are keeping on the roads again.”
He said as soon as the project commences, “what is at Lema dump site is a complete waste because there is no segregation. Now we are going to do segregation from the point of collection. The labelled bin will be for different types of refuse”.
On whether, there shall be a tariff on the shoulder of residents, he queried, “so which one is better, to have tarrif and have light to boost the economy? Get employment, security, increase in business etc. Once, there is steady power supply, the economy will improve”.
Oko said,”the company are eager than we are. They have gone back to conclude their agreement because they are looking for where to invest their money.”
The contract, he said, is signed on percentage because they are going to sale to Nepa that is a major Stakeholder.They have the facility and the network. It is a tripartite arrangement. NEPA will distribute, the people are going to generate, state is providing the enabling environment. I think the Ministry of Finance is doing something in that direction while the (PPP) is involved. There is a synergy”.
“The waste to energy project, he added, runs into millions of dollars. It is in dollars. I can not be specific. It is a project that has come to stay. Government cannot hands off now. It is government that is signing the contract. Government is part of the contract that is why the report was presented to the governor and he gave his consent.”
They have gone to sign bond with banks and other Stakeholders. The banks will be involved even the incoming government will be involved too. It is renewable, he noted.
However, he said, “like I have told you, it is the challenge we have at the dump site that has caused the delay in evacuation. Where we dump our waste was filled. It was a major challenge and we were working day and night to make sure we restore evacuation. We have done that. We have fixed the dump site and we have started evacuation. The city has started taking its sharp again. This is one of our flash points the Otop Abasi street. Like Abua, Ekpo Eyo streets. We have tackled all those other flash points”.
Normal traffic has have resumed because we have cleared the road in Otop Abasi and I assure you before the end of today this road will be motorable. I assure you each time I talk to the press I like to talk to residents and Cross Riverians too.
He appealed to residents to change their attitude toward dumping of refuse. This is a problem too. There is a bin in all the flash points across the City of Calabar. Dump your refuse in the bin to avoid littering the streets of Calabar. We normally use the skip bin for the trucks to come and lift them to the dump site. But when the refuse are heaped on the road, it takes a lot of time to get them removed”.
He used the opportunity to remind residents that there is a task force on sanitation and offenders are liable to a fine #100,000 or five months imprisonment.
Regrettably, “scavengers are going round vandalising our bins in our flash points. We distributed over 100 bin in January this year, as I speak if you go round you will not see up to 50 bin now. So we have a task force now to monitor and protect our bin. They are working day and night.”
Also, he said, “this is harvest season, there are lots of food in the matket, we have lots of wastes as we are clearing this place, in the next few days it is filled again.. We are trying to increase the manpower because of the increase in the generation of waste. When this contract was awarded, a litre of dissel was 180, now it is 800. A truck goes for 9000 – 40000 naira. This is affecting the operations too. Every body wants to cut corners and make profit.”
“Today the price of diesel is affecting the operations. Everything has gone up, lubricant, tyres etc.We are looking at a review of the contract variation. There is no provisions for that but because of the enormity of waste we have today, I think we are on the right track so that all of us shall be on the same page.”