The Imo State Orientation Agency (ISOA) has urged the people of the state to assist in checking the activities of scavengers in the state.
The agency made the call in a statement dated 23rd September, 2021 and signed by its Director General, Ethelbert Okere.
Okere appealed to the people to be vigilant and disperse any scavenger sighted at any refuse dumpsite in the state.
According to the Director-General, the scavengers release dangerous bacteria into the air which infect human beings when they open up bagged refuse in their bid to salvage precious items and sell for money.
Okere stated that reports traced the outbreak of cholera in parts of the country to the activities of scavengers at refuse dumpsites.
The Director-General quoted the reports as saying that the opening of decaying refuse especially household refuse releases harmful bacteria into the air with its attendant grave consequences on the health of human beings.
He said it was for this reason that the agency launched ‘Operation Bag Your Waste’ which apart from minimizing hazardous effects on human beings, makes evacuation of refuse easy.
He observed that the effort was paying off except for the activities of scavengers, who go the dumpsites to tear bagged garbage open.
Okere disclosed that any scavenger caught in the act would be fined N50,000 or three months imprisonment upon conviction or both.
According to him, Section 26 of the Imo State Waste Management Act also provides that anyone caught throwing refuse through a moving vehicle would be fined N20,000 or serve one-month imprisonment upon conviction.
Okere who urged the people to guard against littering the public space with refuse also appealed to them to ensure their premises are kept clean to avert any airborne diseases.
He specifically enjoined residents of Owerri, the state capital to help government reclaim its status as the cleanest capital city in the state through proper disposal of garbage.
The Director-General stated that refuse bins had been provided at strategic locations and wondered why some residents still prefer to dump refuse indiscriminately in the city.