On waste disposal crisis in Maiduguri

Piles of garbage line the streets leading up to the Customs Bridge in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, creating an eyesore for residents and visitors alike. The waste disposal crisis, which has been ongoing for months, is not only an aesthetic problem but also a health and environmental hazard. 

The increasing amount of waste being dumped around the Customs Bridge has sparked concerns about its health and environmental impact. The piles of garbage, which include everything from food scraps to plastic bottles, are not only unsightly, but they are also a health hazard and a fire risk. Additionally, the waste is attracting pests and wildlife, which could pose a threat to residents. 

The waste disposal crisis around the Customs Bridge has not only created unsanitary conditions and a risk of disease, but it has also led to dangerous and illegal practices. Some residents have taken to burning the garbage in an attempt to reduce the piles, but this has resulted in toxic fumes and smoke billowing through the air. The burning also poses a risk of fire spreading to nearby homes and businesses. 

Beyond the health and safety risks posed by the burning of garbage, it is also contributing to a broader environmental crisis in Borno. The burning of plastics and other non-biodegradable materials is releasing harmful toxins into the air and water, which can have long-term consequences for the local ecosystem. In addition, the burning is depleting the region’s already limited supply of clean water, making it even more difficult for residents to access safe drinking water. The combined effect of these factors will create a serious environmental problem in the area.

Part of the reason for the waste disposal crisis around the Customs Bridge is the presence of informal waste collectors who operate in the area. These individuals, many of whom are not from the local community, collect and sell recyclable materials from the trash. While this practice is common in many parts of the world, it has had negative consequences in Borno. These collectors often dump large amounts of garbage near the bridge, contributing to the buildup of waste.

In addition to the informal waste collectors, some market vendors have also contributed to the waste disposal crisis. Vendors often sell their wares at stalls near the Customs Bridge, and they often dispose of their waste in the same area. This includes food waste, packaging materials, and other items that cannot be easily recycled or composted. This has exacerbated the problem of waste buildup, as well as the health and environmental risks associated with it.

Furthermore, the lack of formal waste management services in the area means that these vendors have few options for disposing of their waste properly.

Moreover, the informal waste collectors and market vendors who contribute to the waste disposal crisis around the Customs Bridge are often driven by economic necessity. Some of these individuals come from low-income backgrounds and do not have access to formal waste management services. 

This means that they have no other option but to dispose of their waste in the area around the bridge. Furthermore, the income they earn from selling recyclable materials and other items allows them to support their families and meet their basic needs. In this way, the waste crisis is a reflection of the larger socioeconomic challenges facing the community.

 To address the root causes of the waste disposal crisis at the Customs Bridge. One contributing factor is the lack of proper waste management infrastructure in the area. Another factor is the cultural practice of burning trash, which is often done by people who live outside of the immediate area and are not directly affected by the negative consequences. In order to work on the crisis, it’s important to invest in waste management infrastructure, such as garbage trucks, landfills, and recycling facilities, to help reduce the amount of waste being dumped around the Customs Bridge. 

Implement educational programmes to raise awareness about the dangers of burning trash and the importance of responsible waste disposal. Enforce laws and regulations against illegal dumping and burning of trash. Encourage businesses and individuals to adopt sustainable practices, such as composting, recycling, and responsible consumption.

Fadeela Mustapha Lawan,

Department of Mass Communication, Borno State University, Maiduguri