By Paul Nwosu

Sustainable’ is the key word driving the ongoing Clean and Green revolution in Anambra State. And it can only be truly sustainable and result-oriented if we all take ownership of it.

Making the Clean and Green task sustainable is the ability to maintain and keep the programme going the way it started. Professor Leonard N. Muoghalu, Dean, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, defines sustainability in this context as, “operating without a break’. He says it’s a ‘commitment to the future” and when our use of our resources does not lead to the decline of that resources e.g. when we cut down a tree in the forest and plant three, we have behaved sustainably.

This is a radical departure from the much hackneyed “lack of maintenance culture” and “business as usual’ which has plagued laudable initiatives in our country. Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo has demonstrably shown his determination to usher in a sustainable state-wide Clean and Green era that promises to make Anambra State the cynosure of our compatriots.

What Governor Soludo is preaching, therefore, is that the Clean and Green drive should not be allowed to go the way of many previous cleanliness and sanitation initiatives which ended up as one vicious circle of ‘one step forward and two steps backward’.  And one good way of ensuring this is through the active involvement of different stakeholders, sectors, institutions, organized groups and Ndi-Anambra in general to take ownership of the campaign. The Clean and Green culture has to be internalised as a creed such that it will become a way of life of Ndi Anambra.

For this to happen, landlords, market leaders, motor park unions, estates, industrial layouts, public facilities and communities should play major roles in the organised collection and evacuation of refuse. Clusters and groups of this nature are easier and better effective to manage when one of their own is calling the shots based on rules they all set.

This will of course be driven by a well-honed waste disposal etiquette informed by what the people must use to pack their garbage, how and where they must deposit their generated wastes for onward evacuation to dumpsites or incinerators as the case may be. This way, sustainability goes into auto-pilot and becomes even more cost-effective since everybody is on the same page.

There is no gainsaying the fact that storm water from rainfall washes off our top soil, partly culminating in erosion. And Anambra is known to be the erosion capital of the country. Meteorologists have forecasted that there would even be more rain this year. But we cannot just throw up our hands in despair.  We should begin to do the much we can to mitigate such a natural disaster before the big money will come from Abuja and international donor agencies. So, it is incumbent on everybody to provide pits in the compound to collect storm water. Once the water is thus collected, it reduces the amount of water that flows into the road and pools where there is slope.

To sustain our soil therefore, it has become absolutely necessary that everyone should begin to plant trees. Apart from checking the menace of erosion, it improves the quality of the air we breathe and the ambience of our surroundings.

Sustainability of the Clean and Green revolution is key to creating the liveable, pleasurable and prosperous paradigm that we seek for good.

Sir Paul Nwosu

Commissioner for Information.