The Edo State Government has urged traders and landlords to support initiatives and programmes designed to ensure good environmental hygiene in public places.
The Commissioner for Environment and Sustainability, Engr Jonathan Lawani made the call during a clean-up exercise in Benin City, as part of activities to mark the World Clean-Up Day.
Lawani said the exercise was organised by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainability in collaboration with local government public health workers, non-governmental organisations, members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and other volunteers.
He said, “This is a clean -up exercise and it’s coming up today because today is the world clean-up day and we are here at third junction, Sakponba Road which is at the very centre of the city. There's also a market here.”
“Because of the market activities, this place has become dirty with wastes illegally dumped at different places such that when passing through this place, you’ll find waste everywhere and it has been of very serious concern to us as a ministry.
“We chose this place today to pass the message of cleanliness to our people. What we are doing is not just reactive but we're also passing the message to the people who do their daily activity here to embrace cleanliness. We made sure we are not just doing it on our own but get the people key into it.”
“At a point, we had to stop them from selling to make sure they clean the front of their shops and offices before they can continue with their daily jobs and most of them are happy with what we're doing,” the commissioner added.
According to him, “Every Monday in Edo State is market environmental sanitation, so we have charged the local government councils in charge of this place to ensure that this effort is sustained. We will also deploy our officers from the Ministry of Environment and the Waste Management Board to always supervise the weekly sanitation exercise in this market.”
“We have environmental laws that have extant provisions so that when you do not do what you ought to do, we will serve you a notice of abatement. If it persists, we will have to give you a court summons and if found guilty, you will pay the appropriate fines or serve the appropriate jail terms.”
He further noted that the market leaders and landlords around the area play crucial roles in ensuring a cleaner environment, noting, “We engaged the market women and landlords at Oregbeni Market and learnt from them that the cause of their dirty environment is the Waste Managers’ inability to meet up with the evacuation of the waste generated on a daily basis and consequently, we sacked the waste manager and deployed a new one which the people have come back to report to us that they are happy with and working with them.”