Auwalu Ahmad was one of the landlords at Kantudun Madabo community in Dala Local Government Area of Kano until the second quarter of 2023.
He sold his house on 5 June - not for bankruptcy - because of the uncontrollable heaps of refuse being dumped at a site close to the house.
Auwalu, who has now moved to Dan Dishe, a neighboring community in the same LGA, shared his experience.
“I lived there for 12 good years. Everything they dumped in that refuse ended up in my house. One time, I got home and found poop wrapped in nylon in the compound, then I decided to sell the house and moved out.”
“I’m enjoying this new house I bought because I no longer experience such challenges,” he added.
At IBB Road by the popular Kwari Market, a fabric seller, Shafi’u Dan Gezawa lamented low patronage due to the proximity of his shop to a heap of refuse.
The odor chases his customers away.
“I sell fabrics here, and before they started dumping refuse here, business was going well, but because of the smell coming out of the waste, all the customers no longer come here,” he told me.
“Right now, there’s a dead dog inside the refuse and if it gets rotten, nobody can stand here.”
It is quite unfortunate that free roads passed by road users in the morning can suddenly become refuse dump sites in the evening.
This is due to the lack of garbage containers and the untimely response of the Kano State Waste Management Agency.
Refuse has taken over some parts of the road at an approved dump site on Court Road.
“The smell is serious, and aside from the smell, people tend to dump sewage products here, so whenever it rains the entire sewage product comes down to the road and it flows down to our shops,” a shop owner in the area said.
Scavengers are not helping the matter as they make a mess of refuse when they hunt for recyclable materials with their bare hands despite its health implications.
One of them, Musa Hamza Funtua said the job is their only means of survival.
“I do come here to get what to feed myself and my family. I go home with over N3,000 if I sell what I pick in one day.”
Funtua said he “never wears boots and gloves” when scavenging.
The chairman of the scavengers at Court Road, Bashir Mai-Rice, links the indiscriminate refuse dumping outside the approved dump site to the cart pushers who collect refuse from residential areas.
“The major problem is from the people collecting refuse from residential areas. They are the ones who dump the waste outside the dump sites. But we usually tell them to take their waste inside whenever we are around,” he said.
Indiscriminate refuse disposal is no longer new to Kano residents, but the trend of turning strategic locations in the city into dump sites is alarming. Yet, there is no hope in sight.
According to the Federal Ministry of Environment, Nigeria generates over 32 million tonnes of waste annually with plastic accounting for 2.5 million tonnes.
Sadly, 83 percent of the total volume of land-based plastic waste ends up in the ocean and dams.
No doubt, waste has its health hazards; unfortunately, the prospect of turning waste into wealth has not been optimized in Kano State.
In May 2021, the government concessioned the Kano State Refuse Management Board (REMASAB) to Capegate Investment Company for 20 years.
The duo agreed to generate 10 MegaWatts of electricity in 2022 from the 96,000 tonnes of waste, and 150MW in the next five years. The shaky deal is yet to see the light of the day.
The Managing Director of REMASAB, Ahmadu Haruna Zago, declined to comment on the Capegate deal when contacted.
“Well, I’m not aware of the agreement, but we have evacuated the refuse dumped at France Road area in Sabon Gari, Galadima Road, New Road, and Beruit Road,” he said.
According to Zago, “The State government has repaired seven trucks at the sum of N800 million, aside from the 10 trucks handed to the agency to keep Kano clean.”
Kano residents are in the meantime appealing to the government to place garbage containers in the affected locations to ease refuse collection while waiting for innovation to convert the organic waste in the city to wealth.