Unless something urgent is done by authorities of the Imo Environmental Transformation Commission, ENTRACO, state Ministry of Health and other relevant agencies, residents of Owerri especially, those who live and do business around Item Street, Mbari and environs may have to grapple with looming epidemics following stinking deadly refuse that has blocked all the drainages there with health-threatening ordour oozing from the said drainages.
A walk through Item Street around UBA junction up to Diamond Bank along the same street, will make any right thinking citizen of this state put on his thinking cap. What is even more frightening is that roadside food vendors, secondhand cloth dealers, yam and plantain roasting women and even restaurants continue to ply their trade on top of this deadly filth. The situation is indeed ghastly.
Against this backdrop, one may wish to reflect on why and how we came to this present environmental mess few years after Imo consistently topped other states of the federation as the cleanest state in Nigeria. That was during Dr. Ikedi Ohakim’s administration as governor of Imo State, 2007-2011. Today, the reverse is seriously becoming the case.
What happened to the sanitary inspectors also known as ‘Nwaole-ala’ of those days, who were usually deployed to monitor residential and business environments in order to ensure hygiene and cleanliness in the various local governments?
Assuming these sanitary inspectors still exist in our administrative structures, why can’t they visit places like Item Street and see for themselves how Imo people ‘feed from the gutters’. It is indeed shocking how we are persistently descending into full-blown systemic failure. With this kind of environment disaster that has gone completely putrid, one does not need to ask why our people are being buried almost on a daily basis.
The health implication of this type of environmental pollution is inexplicable, from typhoid to deadly infections, risk of organ failure including kidney, respiratory infections, dysentery and whatever disease one can think of or imagine.
Government agencies and departments vested with the responsibility of keeping our environment clean should please, act now to save lives.