The northern Nigerian town of Kano produces almost 3,000 tons of garbage daily,
but sanitation workers there can handle only 800 tons. The rest is piling up as
backlog at collection centers and on the streets. From
Ahmed has the story.
In Kano, refuse from over nine million people
litters almost every street, vacant plot and pond.
Yan-Gurasa/Jakara is a neighborhood inside the city walls of Kano. It has one of the busiest roads in the
municipal local government area – a road leading to the ancient Jakara market.
a small vacant plot on one side of this road is a large heap of waste – industrial,
commercial and household. The dust and smell from the garbage dump are
terrible. Sometimes the refuse obstructs traffic.
the rainy season, waterlogged areas around the neighborhood are a breeding place
for mosquitoes and rodents. When the waste mixes with rain water, it can pollute
It is just one of hundreds of refuse dumps around the metropolis.
Kano environmentalist Ali
Barau says the dumps are breeding site for mice, mosquitoes and other pests. He
says the dumps pose a serious public health hazard, especially to children
living in the area who pick up a variety of diseases while playing there. He
says the government should help change people's attitudes with public education
programs about garbage management, collection and disposal.
Hussam Musa Karry is the managing director at Refuse Management and Sanitation
Board. The agency is responsible for the collection, management and disposal of
waste in Kano.
is an "I don't care" attitude," he says: " 'Once it does not affect me, then it's none of
my business,' and people begin to dump their refuse anywhere they want. Even if
areas are being provided for the collection of waste, people don't respect that
for one reason or the other."
Karry says his agency is working 18 hours daily to remove the refuse and to change
bad habits. It's been organizing workshops and seminars to
sensitize people in local government areas, communities and wards.
example," he says, "we are at Lokon makera [a neighborhood in Kano]assisting
the community to conduct local programs on issues of waste management. Most of
them were happy after the lecture we gave them, and they are [collecting the
refuse] on their own. Before, they folded their arms and waited for government."
says there is a general community clean-up on the last Saturday of every month.
And residents are expected to clean
their area and bring waste to designated collection points every day.
says the state refuse agency has increased its work force from 300 to more than
3,600 and has purchased fifty new 10-cubic-meter trucks.
Karry says the state executive council is expected to approve a new regulations
proposed by Kano state waste management. Among other things, they would ensure that state residents contribute to
a generally clean environment. It would
also authorize the state refuse agency and others to ensure that land and streets
are kept clean of litter.
have laws on the ground now," he says. "We will try
to educate people on each of the rules on what is expected to be followed by
any person living in the city."
says those who break the laws will be prosecuted.
example," he says, "A section of the law says, 'It shall be the duty of every owner or
occupier to keep their premises clean and keep free from all overgrown weeds,
filth, rubbish and refuse, from the street at the front, back, both sides and
inside the premises.' "
also says that no one shall leave waste in any street, gutter or open space
without official approval.
enforcement of the law and greater effort by the government, engineer Hussam
Karry says there has been a gradual improvement in the attitude of people in
the area about dumping waste at designated places, where it's been collected
and disposed of appropriately.