Nigerian News Agency
Mrs Ladi Anthony, a dry season farmer in the Mazah community located in Jos North Local Government, has been experiencing poor yields on her tomato farm over the years. She noted that waste dumped into the community’s river from the city of Jos has polluted her water and infecting crops with disease.
She says her tomato is rotting and worm infested as a result of the situation, while irrigation farmers are also experiencing blockages in pumping water to their crops, as debris, particularly in the form of plastics, blocks irrigation channels. Water.
The mother of five further explained that residents living near the river are battling malaria disease as a result of the river’s stagnant water, a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
With so many problems associated with the river, Anthony is happy that one organization, Center For Earth Works (CFEW), recently held a cleanup exercise to help address the challenges.
She says: “The cleanup exercise has recently cleaned up the river water and we are happy about that. We hope to harvest more tomatoes and other crops as the water will flow unobstructed.”
Similarly, Mr. Filibus Arin, a member of the Mazah community who volunteered with CFEW to carry out the intervention, said the fishermen are excited that their livelihood will experience a jump, because before that, the The water gets very dirty and the fish struggle to survive there.
Mazah, an agrarian community located about five kilometers from the city of Jos, is known for its famous Mazah River, which runs into Lake Chad.
Community members, who are mostly farmers, practice dry season agriculture using the river as a source of water supply for irrigation. They also engage in fishing as a source of livelihood because the river has given birth to many natural ponds for fishing activities.
In recent years, however, the river has become a metropolis’ waste dump that threatens aquatic life, dry-season agriculture, and those whose livelihoods depend on it.
Following the importance of the Mazah River in the community and CFEW’s efforts to eradicate plastic waste in the Plateau, a community clean-up intervention was carried out for the first time with 33 participants in partnership with host community volunteers, Better Earth Foundation. and the `Yan Kwalabe` (informal waste collectors) association in the state.
The intervention was carried out to evacuate waste from the river and reduce the impact of plastic pollution on the community. Reports indicate that it takes more than four centuries for plastic to fully break down from the environment.
According to a study, 2.5 million tons of plastic waste are generated annually in Nigeria, of which 88% is not recycled and ends up in bodies of water.
While stakeholders have called for concerted efforts to address the threat through proper waste management, the House of Representatives in 2019 considered a bill banning the manufacture and use of plastic bags to address waste management. waste and protect the environment. Unfortunately, the bill is still pending and plastic waste is still being disposed of indiscriminately.
CFEW Team Leader Mr. Benson Fasanya said the organization focuses on tackling issues affecting the environment by giving it more attention to drive concerted efforts for appropriate action.
“We had few or no organizations talking about environmental issues during the period that CFEW was established in 2017. Usually it was about HIV, women and children and empowerment,” she said.
He explained that plastic pollution is harmful to health and the environment, as there are toxins in the plastic that can be consumed by fish, through which they can reach the human body.
He said the intervention was also carried out to provide relief to community members by destroying breeding sites for mosquitoes and other disease-causing vectors, while also addressing blockage of drains, which is one of the main causes. of the floods.
“If we reduce plastic pollution, we can also stem the tide of malaria and other vector-borne diseases.
“We should encourage recycling and say no to the use of plastic containers because of the danger to health and to our climate,” he said.
He said they intend to keep the cleanup intervention in the state which is very crucial and also a strategy for data collection to hold corporate polluters accountable for plastic waste through their plastic branding audit. This is because the organization is also research-driven and passionate about protecting the earth by empowering communities in knowledge.
At the end of the Plastic Brands Audit in Mazah, 28,000 plastic wastes were collected and audited.
The team leader said the organization had conducted similar clean-up exercises in 2019 at Jos Wild Life Park, where a total of 4,952 waste items and 420 plastic debris were collected from the Old Nitel building located on Old Airport Road in their exercise. cleaning. in 2022 shortly before the intervention in the Mazah community. It has also partnered with some agencies to carry out clean-up exercises in the Angwan Rukuba and Kabong communities.
“Part of our community engagement activity is the cleanup exercise that we do regularly every year and also on global cleanup day.
“The key message is the need for people to sort their waste and stem the tide or reduce the impact of plastic pollution because it takes more than four centuries for it to completely break down from the environment,” he said.
Result of waste collected in the Mazah River
Source: CFEW 2022
The cleanup intervention is encouraging Mazah community leaders to begin mobilizing their members to advocate for designated waste collection centers in the city center or else face the threat of becoming a landfill. continuous waste.
Result of the waste collected in the community of Mazah
Source: CFEW 2022
Volunteers during clean-up exercise in Mazah
The president of the Anaguta Development Association in Mazah, Mr. Yakubu Kaiwa, said that the city’s waste has been a burden on the community and called for more collaboration with NGOs and the government to educate residents of Jos about the evils of indiscriminate dumping of waste and at the same time providing them with alternative outlets.
For Arin, she was inspired while volunteering during the exercise to engage her fellow youth in the community in mapping out ways to sustain the intervention through collaboration with CFEW and other NGOs.
He also urged the government to organize stakeholder meetings to raise awareness against indiscriminate waste disposal.
CFEW with the supreme ruler of Anaguta (third from right), the Ujah of Anaguta, Pozoh Johnson Jauro Magaji II
CFEW says it is hopeful that its partnerships with informal recyclers and engagement with youth on social media through its “Youth for Earth Campaign” will produce a positive result in advocating for nature’s sustainability and restoration. of degraded land as a result of improper waste management.
“Through our school projects, we have been able to reach 1,200 high school students and our online campaigns have been able to reach 10,000 young people online in various countries,” says the team leader.
Although the organization involves volunteers and garbage collectors in the state, its activities are limited due to labor and funding shortages.
The organization hopes to carry out more awareness programs on proper waste disposal, influence environmental policies and has a long-term plan to establish a materials recovery facility for the organizations, where informal recyclers would be hired to earn life and debris would be classified according to the projection of being composted.
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Source Credit: NAN