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 pointed out that waste dumped into the community’s river from Jos town has polluted her water and infecting crops with diseases.
She says her tomato is rotting and worm infested as a result of the situation, while irrigated farmers are also experiencing obstructions in pumping water to their crops, as debris, particularly in the form of plastics, blocks drainage channels. Water.
The mother-of-five further explained that residents living near the river battle malaria disease as a result of stagnant river water, a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
With the myriad of problems associated with the river, Anthony is happy that an organization, Center For Earth Works (CFEW), recently conducted 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 Mazah community member who volunteered with CFEW to carry out the intervention, said that 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 flows 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.
However, in recent years, the river has become a dumping ground for the metropolis’ waste, threatening aquatic life, dry-season agriculture and those whose livelihoods depend on it.
Following the importance of the Mazah River to the community and CFEW’s efforts to eradicate plastic waste on the Plateau, a community cleanup intervention was conducted for the first time with 33 participants in partnership with volunteers from the host community, 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 in the community. Reports indicate that it takes over four centuries for plastic to completely break down from the environment.
According to a study, 2.5 million tons of plastic waste is 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, a bill banning the manufacture and use of plastic bags was considered by the House of Representatives in 2019 to address waste management. waste and protect the environment. Unfortunately, the bill is still pending and plastic waste is still thrown away 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 speaking out on 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, since 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 grounds for mosquitoes and other disease-causing vectors, while addressing blockage of drains, which is one of the main causes. of the floods.
“If we reduce plastic pollution, we can also stem the wave of malaria and other vector-borne diseases.
“We should encourage recycling and say no to the use of plastic packaging 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 brand audit. This is because the organization is also research driven and passionate about protecting the earth by empowering knowledge communities.
At the end of the Mazah Plastic Brand Audit, 28,000 plastic scraps 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 sum 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 cleanup 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 during World 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 fully decompose from the environment,” he said.
Result of the waste collected in Jos Wild Life Park
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 waste continuum.
Result of waste collected in the Mazah River
Source: CFEW 2022
Volunteers during cleanup exercise in Mazah
Plastic packaging brand audit
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 the residents of Jos about the evils of waste dumping and at the same time provide them with alternative outlets.
For Arin, he was inspired while volunteering during the exercise to engage his fellow youth in the community in charting 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 outcome in advocating for nature sustainability and restoration. of degraded lands as a result of inappropriate 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 a shortage of manpower and funding.
The organization hopes to carry out more awareness programs on proper waste disposal, influence environmental policies, and has a long-term plan to set up a materials recovery facility for the organizations, where informal recyclers would be hired to earn money. life and waste would be classified according to the projection of being transformed into organic fertilizer.
**If used, please credit the writer and the Nigerian News Agency
Source Credit: NAN