An offensive odour emitting from refuse dumps within the popular Ogbeogonogo market and its environs in Asaba, the Delta State capital, has sacked traders and tricycle operators in the area.
The traders and the tricycle operators feared the odour might cause an outbreak of critical illness if urgent steps are not taken to evacuate the heaps of dumps by concerned authorities.
They called on the state government and private waste collectors to step up efforts and ensure that indiscriminate dumping of refuse on streets and roads, particularly Nnebisi road and others within the market, is prohibited with offenders brought to book.
Investigation revealed that the stench has paralysed business activities within the market environment including the tricycle park, where the operators often convey passengers to the expressway and adjourning streets around Nnebisi road.
Passers-by are not left out of the pervasive odour especially in this dry season, as motorists and pedestrian can be seen covering their noses with handkerchiefs to avoid breathing in the heavy smell.
One of the traders, who spoke to newsmen, Mrs Victoria Ogbonna, said, “Our market is in dire need of clean up and evacuation of refuse dumps. The heaps of refuse dumps are just here not evacuated. We don’t know what the council officials are doing. This is why the emitting odour can’t allow us to trade. Just look at the entire market, refuse litters everywhere. We are calling on the state government to come to our aid and ensure the authorities concerned are up and doing.”
Another trader, Emeka Justus, who also spoke to newsmen, said, “Everywhere smells, those who sell goat meat, even the buyers too generate the refuse dumps. We have been paying levy for evacuation of refuse, but the operators are not doing their work. The market is very dirty and the emitting odour from the refuse dumps which does not allow us to trade. The state government should come to our aid or the council”.
Reacting, the Oshimili South council chairman, Mr Uche Osadebe, whose council has the responsibility of maintaining the market, blamed the indiscriminate refuse dumps on the market traders who often violate the law prohibiting indiscriminate dumping of wastes, adding that efforts were on apprehend offenders.
He said: “The major problems we have are the violators of the law prohibiting indiscriminate refuse dumps. The traders are the ones dumping refuse indiscriminately, but very soon the perpetrators will be brought to book and might be jailed according to the law.”
Also speaking, the state commissioner for environment, Barr John Nani said the situation was getting out of hand especially as the traders were involved in the indiscriminate refuse dumps.
He disclosed that the state government had set up a monitoring unit within the ministry of environment to arrest perpetrators of the illegality.