Residents of Bayelsa State have lamented the inability of the state government to enforce its directive to restrict scavengers to dump sites only.
It will be recalled that three months ago, the state government had frowned at the activities of scavengers who roam residential areas under the guise of gathering scraps.
The State Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Strategy, Hon. Ayibaina Duba had said their activities were a source of concern to the government.
According to him, most of them were criminals or working with criminal elements and constitute a potent threat to security and public safety, warning scavengers to limit their activities to dump sites or risk grave legal consequences.
However, not much has been done to enforce the order as the scavengers continue moving in residential areas without any form of restriction.
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A veteran journalist, Mr. Samuel Ese highlighted the dangers posed by the activities of scavengers, especially given the security challenges faced by the country and he urged government to take a step further to implement the directive.
He said: “Going by the security situation in the country, these scavengers have actually become a threat, for government to recognize it and to limit their activities to dump sites is a welcome development.
“What makes policies effective is if there is implementation, and for now I don’t think there’s anything like that. Just this morning, I saw some of them, not in any dump site but in residential areas going about their business.
“So I think government has to go beyond mere pronouncement of policies and ensure that there are people on ground to monitor the activities of scavengers to limit the threats to people’s residence”.
He also said a good waste management system can reduce the threat scavengers pose, suggesting the use of refuse bins with covered lids in designated areas around the state.
He noted that if the bins are placed along streets and in schools it will reduce the amount of waste littered in the environment.
The Director of Waste Management, Bayelsa Environmental Sanitation Authority, Mr. Ebidou Alazigha on his part said the scanvengers also pose health threats to the society but disagreed that covered bins can discourage their activities.
“Some of these waste have been bagged for two or three days, and then they’ve been under the heat of thgve sun, invariably at that point it doesn’t need to be exposed.
“However, scavengers will go and unwrap them because of their own reasons. The whole environment is now contaminated and can lead to outbreak of diseases.
“When that happens, every living thing that comes in contact with that environment will likely be infected. In every city where you have collection points, closed or not closed, scavengers infiltrate and do what they want to do.
Alazigha urged residents to report the activities of scavengers beyond dump sites to the relevant authorities for action to be taken against them.