The Kwara State Government has announced that scavengers across the state will be registered and given codes to enhance public safety while also calling for an adherence to Environmental Law.
This move was revealed by the State Commissioner for Environment, Mallam Shehu Ndanusa Usman while speaking to RoyalTimes on Wednesday.
Usman said that the dealers who are the direct bosses to the scavengers will have to register their company and the scanvegers under them before December 31st, as the new action will commence throughout the state in January.
“We have our guidelines and we have responsibilities to make sure that people do their business and do it right. That’s the reason the State government is coming up with the registration of the scavengers. In the business of scavengers, we have [categories of] the scavengers and the dealers. The dealer is the boss to the scavenger”, he said.
“On our own guidelines, the dealer will register as a company, as a name in the ministry, and equally register all the scavengers under him. With this, we are going to do their biometric registration and everything to the extent that whenever you see a scavenger, you just look at his back and the code there [is] enough to get everything about that person. So we have that in our database, the security will have that information too and in case of anything, they would do their investigation based on that.”
“Anybody that is not putting on that bib will be regarded as a criminal or an intruder. And there are fines and also penalties as regards to that. The registration will end by 31st of December so by January, this action will commence throughout the State. You must register yourself and make sure you are in line with the law”, he added.
It would be recalled that the Ministry of Environment had previously emphasized its concern about the potential risks associated with scavenger activities across the state and had urged them to adhere strictly to Environmental Law.
Again, the Commissioner for Environment hammered on the importance of following the law, saying “The environmental laws that guide people in the market also guide people outside the market. It’s same and simple. Make it clean, dispose it appropriately. That’s the law. When you have a refuse, you gather it, evacuate it to the dumping site. That’s the last place the refuse can go. Anything short of that, you’ve broken the law.”
“Maybe you evacuate your refuse from your resident or market or shop or office and along the line you get to somewhere and drop it, that is a total break of law. When you evacuate, you take it to the last place which is the dumping site.”
The Director of Environment, Abayomi Idowu also stated that the law guiding waste disposal is rarely adhered to and the law is meant for the benefit of everyone
“We have laws that guide waste disposal. The entire Ilorin metropolis has been divided into two sections. One section is being managed by the social contractors while the other section is being managed by what we call commercial waste contractors. [Dumping] of refuse on the roadway is totally prohibited. If you live in areas that has been marked for commercial waste collection, what you have to do is contact commercial waste contractors for the evacuation”, he said.
“We have many commercial waste contractors that have been zoned into different parts of the state. We normally ask them to go to their areas to carry out mobilisation and sensitisation. But what normally discourages people is the token they have to pay to them. People are looking for something that is free, and the government cannot do anything.”
“Anybody that claims that he or she doesn’t know the commercial waste contractor that is covering his/her area, can approach either KWEPA or the State Ministry of Environment”