The Edo State Ministry of Environment and Sustainability has declared its readiness to collaborate with the management of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) to address the issue of waste disposal that has been posing serious health challenges to residents.
Speaking during a visit to the management of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital and also at the dump site at Ugbowo in Benin City, the Commissioner for Environment and Sustainability, Architect Joshua Omokhodion, who was accompanied by the Permanent Secretary, Deacon Joel Edionwe and other members of staff, decried the deplorable state of the estate as a result of the dump site.
Architect Omokhodion noted that the well-being and prosperity of the people are the priority of Governor Godwin Obaseki-led’s administration.
He said, “Our first observation upon visiting the site was a situation where the people were using a parcel of land not necessarily designated for that purpose for refuse dumping, and upon closer observation, we realized that the greatest dumps we were seeing there were medical waste.”
The Commissioner noted, “As an institution, if an epidemic breaks out and you have to start dealing with that, and it is just in your backyard, it would be an embarrassment.”
He continued, “We need to work together to achieve your aims and objectives, ensuring that you have the right atmosphere to discharge your duties. I can assure you that as a government, we will give you our maximum cooperation.”
He further noted that the very first solution is to ensure that there is no access to the dump site anymore by sealing it up with blocks, stressing the need to ensure that the issue of flooding is mitigated through the desilting of drains in the medium term.
The Commissioner, however, added that there is an accredited dump site for waste disposal, charging the management to go the extra mile to activate a system where the public dump site can be utilized.
In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of UBTH, Prof. Darlington Obaseki, who was ably represented by the Chairman of the Medical Advisory Committee, Prof. Stanley Okugbo, thanked the Commissioner for the visit, noting that the hospital has three functional incinerators.
Prof. Okugbo said, “We know how to handle hazardous waste. Much of the waste in the dump site is not from the hospital. UBTH does a lot of work for the community, and many people use the opportunity of UBTH being what it is to bring their waste and dump them in many of the open places.”
This is coming after some of the residents along the Federal Government Girls College Road in Benin City drew the attention of the Edo State Government to the dump site that has been posing serious health challenges to community residents.
The area residents noted that the dump site was evacuated some time ago, but because there was no other place for dumping refuge, it continued as a dump site and has posed a great threat to residents. The residents also alleged that most waste materials came from the University of Benin Teaching Hospital.