Attempting a marriage between heaven and hell would seem the equivalent of squaring a circle. Similarly, to juxtapose a clean and healthy environment with a filthy and unhealthy one stands to be a noticeable error of a given generation which posterity may never forgive.
The collective existence of Rivers’ people rests on its environment and the sustenance of the environment depends largely on its inhabitants.
“Environment” refers to the natural landscape together with all of its non-human features, characteristics and processes.
This environment encompasses the interaction of all living species, climate, weather, and natural resources that affect human survival and economic activities.
The deplorable condition of the environment, particularly in sub-urban Port Harcourt leaves so much to be desired.
Instead of an improvement, it is depreciating into what appears more clearly now to be a certain doom.
In his short piece titled “As it was in the Titanic…”, Osa Amadi, an Editor said, “There are close affinities between the warnings relayed to the sunken RMS Titanic and the warnings scientists are sending to us today about the danger our planet faces as a result of gross environmental pollutions. As it was in the Titanic, that night of April 1912, so shall it be on the day planet earth will lose balance as a result of decades of environmental sins committed against it by man”.
Environment does not only include the landscape which accommodates about 1.9 million Rivers people but also refers to the atmosphere from which we breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide.
About the end of the month of May and flip side of June this year, obnoxious fumes from burnt tyres at Abali Motor Park fly over, Mile 1 Diobu adversely polluted the environment thereby causing people living within that axis and those on transit to compulsorily inhale the terrible smoke. This could be a leading cause of cancer and other life threatening diseases which did not mean much to those who set fire to those tyres.
That climate change or global warming changes global or regional climate patterns attributed largely to the increase level of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by burnt materials and fossil fuels do not equally matter.
Aquaculture industry, agro-allied products, socio-economic and human lives are being affected by climate change.
Despite the tireless effort of the Rivers State Government to attach drainages to constructed roads, people still push a large bulk of garbage into these drainages, thus stopping free flow of water whenever it rains. When rain water cannot find an easy passage through these drainages, it results to flooding, which posses danger to human lives.
It is disheartening to note that passengers, through the windows of vehicles, throw down pure water sachets, empty cans of drinks, tied polythene bags, banana peels and other dirt particles.
The same unwholesome act goes on in tri-cycles.
Similarly, the waterways are littered with floating garbage at different locations which tends to interfere with propellers of speed boats.
Roads and street passages have turned dump sites
for wastes as they are generated daily.
Aftermath of these unwholesome practices is typhoid fever as stagnant water becomes breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Again, wastes are not properly disposed of as they attract flies, cockroaches, rodents which interact with foods and water.
Arresting Rivers State ailing environment requires consciousness of inhabitants of the state and government to do the needful.
Government need to be proactive in prosecuting those who disobey existing environmental laws to serve as deterrent to others.
Members of the public should adhere strictly to policies and programmes of the Ministry of Environment.
The Media too, has its role to play in sensitising and educating the public on the hazards inherent in a grimy environment.
Stakeholders including corporate entities should be as responsive as possible to eliminate heaps of dirt in different spots and be committed to planting of trees, flowers along major roads in Port Harcourt city.
Residents should determine not to be part of the problems but part of the solution.
The antidote or solution to the problem lies in their collective resolve to desist from all unwholesome practices that are inimical to a healthy, cleaner, fresher and greener environment which the Rivers State Government strives to achieve.
Government on her part should endeavour to pay those evacuating refuse as at when due and provide waste bins along roads and streets where people can dump their waste apart from median of roads which is now a culture.
Charles Asokun wrote in from Port Harcourt.