Tuesday, 29 September 2015

The need for communal environmental sanitation


This month marks the second lap of the environmental sanitation policy introduced by Gov. Udom Emmanuel to put all hands on deck in the sanitation of Akwa Ibom State. Spanning across the 31 local government areas of the state, the activity which has come to be has received accolades and commendations since its introduction into the schedule of the state last month.  The essence of this state activity, we are told, is to ensure an all-involving participation of individuals in the sanitization of the environment we all live in and thereby, making citizens responsible for their surroundings upkeep. And since cleanliness is next to godliness, keeping clean will to a large extent, attract godliness into the state be it in its minutest form. 

The activity of keeping clean has in volumes told the need for communal sanitation. A survey of streets around Uyo last Saturday showed how happy, willing and content people were to be cleaning their environment with fellow tenants and neighbors which rarely happened under normal circumstances.
People of all age grades were seen dressed in work wears with various working tools and in the mood for the work. With the little ones carrying away weeds and debris from gutters, the youths were doing the draining while the elders did the supervision. The spirit of sanitation was in the air. So engrossed and committed were neighborhoods that the law enforcement agents on monitoring duties were forced to applaud Akpa Ube community particularly for the zeal and zest put into the job. 
The community was one of those recorded to have actively participated in last Saturday’s sanitization massively. The community leaders led the team of youths and able men to the streets adjourning Akpa Ube Lane and its Extension, and cleared the areas of bushes which were already competing for space with houses and pedestrains. Gutters were also drained and freed from the sewages holding them from performing their primary function.
At individual houses, house owners and caretakers were handy to ensure the full participation of every tenant in the compound. In fact, some of them were strict to the extent of locking out tenants to ensure compliance to the government’s directives. When asked on the reason for such, it was gathered that they were fore-warned on this action previously and told to comply accordingly or face sanction. The tenants were each engaged in a portion of work and actively supervised by an elderly amidst chants and storytelling. A communal engagement at its best, if one may describe.
Communal environmental sanitation is one good way of ensuring communalism among community members.
It is no news that while many people do not have the time to keep their environment clean, others do not see the need to clean their environment beyond their immediate surroundings and another large number are not interested in it at all. They leave this duty to the government or anyone it may concern without considering the effect of their non-chalant attitude. This is one of the reasons behind Governor Udom Emmanuel’s decision to sanitize the state; to help people see the need to keep their streets and communities clean collectively.
This innovation as introduced by the state Governor will not only help in keeping the environment clean but will as well promote communalism and co-operation among community members. Issues of non-participation in community works will be history and unity will set in.    
As it happened state-wide on Saturday last week where all hands were on deck for the achievement of this common goal, communities would experience a new order in joint partnership and citizens would be integrated into the affairs of the community without feeling compelled to do so. At the end of the event, dirt-laddened streets were seen wearing looks of freedom from months and years of accumulated refuse; gutters were freed too from grasses, weeds and sewages which hindered the free flow of water. The air was clear, fresh and crisp as communities engaged actively in the cleaning exercise. It was a success by all standards, for those who participated in it and those who observed the activity.
Environmental sanitation is not a strange term we know, it is the absolute erasure of hazardous and detrimental things; living and non-living from our immediate surroundings for our own good; the putting-away of health-threatening elements from our premises. Environmental sanitation happens to be a long-time term used to describe the above but perhaps because of the debate on who’s role it is to perform this function (especially for houses jointly shared), its importance has been downplayed and subsequently, it is ignored.
However, one sad tale of the exercise was the unavailability of a place to dispose the refuse and wastes from gutters. Such were deposited on the road and gutter sides which rendered the entire work unaesthetic. The government is hereby called to look into this before the next environmental sanitation exercise.

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