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Poor waste management threatens lives, development - NEMA

17 September 2013, 20:00

Port Harcourt - The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) says that poor waste management constitutes a threat to human lives, property and developmental gains.

Emenike Umesie, the South-South Zonal Coordinator of NEMA, said this in Port Harcourt on Tuesday at a public sensitisation workshop.

He also underscored the need to initiate proactive measures to mitigate flood disasters in the country.

Umesi stressed that flooding was on the increase across the country, adding that there was, therefore, a compelling need to adequately prepare for predicted rainfall patterns and possible flooding.

He said that proper waste management procedures should be part of mitigation efforts aimed at reducing the level of impact of predicted heavy rainfall.

"Measures must be put in place for proper solid or liquid waste management in the camps set up for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)," he said.

Umesi noted that deaths caused by disasters were on the decline in developed countries, while people in developing countries, including Nigeria, were becoming more vulnerable to disasters.

He noted that disaster-related deaths accounted for about 95 per cent of all deaths in developing countries of the world.

"Countries that invest in disaster prevention and mitigation reap the rich benefits of resilience, while recording low mortality from disasters.

"Because of the persistent high level of vulnerability resulting from poor waste management, post-disaster relief intervention continues to be the most prominent issue in disaster management," he said.

Umesi said that lack of functional emergency management agencies in local government councils and states remained an obstacle to the realisation of the Federal Government's agenda for disaster risks reduction.

In his contribution, Dr Kanu Chukwunenye of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) advised Nigerians to promote safe environment.

He said that the people’s collective efforts were required to safeguard public health, stressing that the future of the unborn generations should not be compromised.

Besides, Chukwunenye said that climate change had seriously affected the environment.

He, however, said that the primary life-saving measures put in place in IDPs camps should include proper waste disposal systems and potable water.

"Waste products must be properly handled in emergency situations to reduce mortality," he said.

 - NAN


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