Residents of Owerri, the capital of Imo State, are presently uncomfortable as refuse dumps have taken over major roads and residential areas.
The residents said they could not breathe fresh air as a result of the repulsive odour oozing out from the heaps of refuse scattered across the municipality and its environs.
It was also gathered that many children had fallen sick and were being admitted to hospitals.
It was gathered on Tuesday that there were over 21 refuse dumps in Owerri Municipal, Orji, Egbu, World Bank and Amakohia areas.
But the Chairman of the Imo State Waste Management Agency, Mr Peter Ezeobi, said that efforts were being made to evacuate the refuse.
“The agency is presently facing some internal challenges. However, in two days time, the refuse will be evacuated. We have started evacuating from the Douglas area; gradually, we shall get to all those areas with heaps of refuse,” Ezeobi said.
However, a resident of Ebikoro along the MCC/Uratta Road, Mr Josiah Iche, said the stench from the heap of refuse at School Garden bus stop was unbearable.
He stated, “Two of my children in the primary school have suffered untold health hazards owing to the foul air from the refuse heap near the bus stop and the primary school situated in the area.
“The one in Primary 4, who is nine years old, was recently discharged from the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, following an air borne infection.”
Iche appealed to Governor Hope Uzodimma to come to the aid of residents of the area by evacuating the refuse.
A trader on Douglas Road, Mr Mike Ajoku, stated that heaps of refuse on the road were defacing the municipality.
Ajoku added that refuse had been on the road for over a month.
“Traders, motorists and residents feel perturbed by the stinking air that comes out of the refuse dump. The refuse is made up of dirt from traders, who dump it on the road,” he stated.
A motorist, Joel Nwankwo, who plies the Egbu/Awaka/Emekuku route, described the heap of refuse opposite the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria installation along Egbu Road as shameful.
He called on Uzodimma and the relevant authorities to live up to their responsibilities by evacuating the refuse to avoid the outbreak of epidemics in the area.