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Residents fear disease outbreak as refuse take over Calabar

Mrs Umoh Effiong, who resides in State Housing Estate, Calabar, described the heaps of refuse in the estate, very close to the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) press center, as very disgusting.

Cross River State governor, Ben Ayade.

Some parts of Calabar, renowned for its cleanness and once rated the cleanest city in the country has now been taken over by refuse, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

A check by NAN shows that the most affected places in the Cross River capital are the popular Marian Market, Akai Street, State Housing Estate and Ikot Ishie area among others.

The NAN check also shows that the refuse has taken over a better part of some roads, forcing motorists to use one lane.

Passers-by close their noses to avoid inhaling the stench from the dumps and contracting infectious diseases.

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Meanwhile, some residents have complained about the development and expressed fear over possible outbreak of diseases in the city if the refuse is not cleared.

NAN reports that some residents now dump refuse on the median of the roads, thereby defacing the green and clean environment that the city is known for.

She expressed concern that the refuse could cause an outbreak of cholera or other infectious diseases if not removed.

"We are living in danger because of this refuse; it has been piling up for several weeks now without the authorities doing anything to evacuate it,’’ she said.

Mrs Mary Eteng, a trader at Marian Market, said that the traders were worried about the odour from the refuse dump in the market.

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"As you can see, whenever it rains, some of us close our businesses because the whole place is very filthy,’’ she said.

Mr Emerald Ejom of Akai Street in Ikot Ishie area of the city also expressed concern over the delay in evacuating the refuse in the area by the concerned authorities.

He said: "Look at it; it is horrible and the situation has not been as bad as this in recent years.

"People now close their noses while relaxing in their sitting rooms. Something must be done at least for the sake of the children living in this vicinity’’.

A staff of Calabar Urban Development Agency (CUDA), Mr Simon Odey, however, told NAN that the agency was striving to clear the refuse.

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"But the more we try, the more residents pile up refuse. We are handicapped because of lack of equipment.

"We do not have enough trucks and that is one of our major problems,’’ he said.

It will be recalled that the Ministry of Health recently set up a disease infection prevention and control committee to manage medical waste in the state.

The constitution of the committee followed the alleged reported cases of diarrhea and skin infections in some parts of Calabar.

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