The Enugu State Commissioner for Environment and Climate Change, Chief Sam Ugwu, has banned all unscrupulous persons who engage in scavenging and improper disposal of refuse at dump sites throughout the state.
“Defaulters would be penalised henceforth,” Ugwu said in Enugu on Wednesday, while drawing the attention of the ban to newsmen.
He said that the ban was in line with the state government’s high expectations of the ministry, which bothers summarily on effective management of environmental issues.
Ugwu revealed that the ministry had inaugurated ‘Refuse Marshals’, who are strategically stationed at all the dumpsites in the state to ensure implementation of the ban and enforce attitudinal change in negative refuse waste handling and disposal methods.
“The Refuse Marshals are powered to monitor any ongoing movement(s) around the dumpsters and arrest scavengers who do not allow these sites to breathe,” he said.
He also warned against open refuse dumping, saying the value placed on cleanliness by such perpetrators are seriously lacking, hence the ugly trend at non-refuse designated sites.
The commissioner, however, said that the state’s monthly environmental sanitation exercise, formerly held but was stepped down owing to security issues, indicating it would be reactivated with legal provisions in place to curb the disheartening situation.
The commissioner said that his administration, since assumption of office, had been able to successfully engage the Enugu State Waste Management Authority (ESWAMA) and NEW-MAP, among other parastatals, which it supervises to accomplish statutory expectations.
Ugwu also listed some of his accomplishments so far in office, adding: “When we came onboard, we have a volunteer who helped to plant flowers at the Otigba Junction, down to New Heaven Junction of Enugu metropolis”.
“We have also planted trees by an assigned expert in the Zik’s Avenue area of Enugu metropolis.
“The cutting of grasses is currently ongoing at Ogui, Okpara Avenue, Government House Old lodge, among other places, to help in beautifying the environment.
“We are not sleeping at all, Enugu State must be clean. We are going to do everything to ensure that the people embrace the government mantra of cleanliness and environmental sanitation,” he said.
The commissioner said that the administration of Gov. Peter Mbah had stepped up security measures to ensure the safety of lives and properties.
“The state Ministry of Children, Gender Affairs and Social Development has since been effecting the relocation of mentally-disturbed persons found within Enugu metropolis to makeshift/temporary centres where they are well-catered for daily,” he added.