By Abuchi Onwumelu
In a bid to keep Anambra State clean and healthy, the Anambra State Government, through the Ministry of Environment, last Wednesday, launched an Environmental Action Campaign termed ''Dobe Anambra Ocha''.
For some time now, the major cities in the state have been a sorry sight owing to large amounts of uncollected waste at strategic locations in the state, a development, many fear, could lead to an epidemic.
But last Wednesday in Awka, the Anambra State Government declared a state of emergency in waste management and environment in the state.
Speaking to the media at a press conference which held in his office at Jerome Udoji Secretariat, Awka, to flag-off the Anambra State Environmental Action Campaign, the Commissioner for Environment, Mr Obi Nwankwo, said the state of emergency would last for a period of 6 months.
Nwankwo said it was in line with the mandate given to the ministry by Gov Willie Obiano, to clean up Anambra State and introduce a culture and lifestyle of care for the environment by Anambrarians and residents of Anambra within the shortest possible time.
He said immediately he came in, he rallied his team and the members of staff of the Ministry of Environment and they quickly went to work, trying to understand what the issues and challenges were, noting that they spoke to various stakeholders, including contractors that had been handling waste management in the state, monarchs, community leaders, market leaders, and the general public who, he said, were most concerned about the challenges they were having in the state concerning waste management.
The Commissioner also said that the Ministry undertook a tour of Anambra State, doing a digital survey using sophisticated drone equipment to fully assess the ecological challenges and challenges with available dump sites.
He stated that their findings showed it was possible to have a clean and environmentally friendly State, and assured the Anambra citizenry that there would be a remarkable difference in environmental care and waste management in the state by the time the ministry fully activated its plans.
Mr Nwankwo restated his Ministry's commitment to, among other things, increase efforts in waste collection and management; ensure faster turnaround in waste collection; and improve enlightenment and citizen education in the area of waste management.
He called on Anambrarians, residents and other stakeholders to support and cooperate with the Ministry as it strove to fulfil its mandate. This was even as he reminded them of aspects of Anambra State Waste Management Law such as bagging of all refuse and waste before taking to waste collection points; ensuring that wastes were dumped in designated points; maintaining waste bins in homes and offices; cutting grasses in offices and homes and keeping grasses low and trim; paying scheduled sanitation and waste management fees to designated government bank accounts; strict observance of the last Saturday of every month as Environmental Sanitation Day.
He gave the Ministry's contact phone number as 09012500200 .