By Kemi Olatunde
To say the environment dictates our well-being is not far from the truth as a healthy man has the capacity to perform well virtually in all aspects. When we maintain a clean environment, we help ourselves to remain healthy and if it is the other way round, we are confined to a spot by various sicknesses and diseases.
To ensure that the people of the state are in healthy state, the Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi, Akeredolu, SAN, is putting measures in place to ensure the environment becomes the dream of all.
Last Saturday, 600 customised, reflective overall and branded uniforms were presented to the Highway Sweepers and Labourers of the Ondo State Waste Management Authority by Sterling Bank PLC, at the Moshood Abiola Democracy Park in Akure.
Speaking at the event, the governor who was represented by his Deputy, Hon. Agboola Ajayi, described preventive healthcare as an important dimension of health that needs significant attention and investment from all sectors of the society.
He said the enormous responsibilities of government at providing wide range of social services and infrastructural development for its teeming population, has made it imperative for his administration to partner with development and donor agencies, including the private sector, to achieve effective health and social services.
Akeredolu added that the uniform is environment-friendly because of its reflective make, which serves as protective device for the highway sweepers for ease of identification.
“This Administration remains committed to its mandate to serve the people. It will not shirk its responsibilities as a resilient driver of the all-encompassing agenda for positive change.
“We shall be guided by the developmental chart which has been adopted as the roadmap for governance”, he said.
He highlighted, among others, some of the cardinal programmes of his administration in accelerating seamless cleaning of the state as encapsulated in the blue print to include; Implementation of strategies that will encourage communities and industries within the State to reduce waste streams through waste minimisation, recycling, re-use as well as the design of processes and products within those industries.
He also stated that expansion of the Waste Management Services outside the state capital, through the creation of area offices in Ore, Ondo, Owo and Ikare-Akoko, and construction of modern landfills with well-engineered and managed disposal facilities that can significantly reduce the impacts of landfill on soil, air, and water are parts of his government’s programme.
Akeredolu assured of the present administration’s readiness to create enabling environment for potential partners and investors.
“Our resolve to empower and improve the socio-economic conditions of our people and the state in general remains sacrosanct.
“Street cleaning and waste collection is a regular activity. Failure to observe basic sanitation principles often result in devastation to the point of causing epidemic or grievous health challenge.
“The environment is a jealous believer in the principle of reciprocity. When we are hostile to our environment, it will deliberately respond negatively. Waste generation and disposal should, therefore, form part of our new learning for safe and healthy living”, he stressed.
The Governor while stating that a hygienic environment for a healthy living is the responsibility of all, enjoined everyone to play its part by avoiding indiscriminate dumping of refuse, ensure high regard for decency and be obedient to sanitation laws.
He admonished staff members of Waste Management Authority who are beneficiaries of the donated materials to make effective use of the them and however, implored them to be more dedicated and committed to their jobs.
Akeredolu who appreciated the management of Sterling Bank PLC for the noble gesture, enjoined other private organisations operating in the state, to emulate the Bank in fulfilling the requirement of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Also speaking, Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Funso Esan who stated that the state is set to have a new system of environmental development noted that the engagement of the private sector in environmental cleaning would enable the state have an environmental and waste management system devoid of government expenditure.
While appreciating Sterling Bank for the gesture, Esan hinted that the ministry woukd soon commence the inspection of houses searching for those without toilet facilities.
He frowned at street trading and called on all to get involved in the cleanliness of the environment.
On his part, Chairman, Private Sector Participation, Kunle Asaolu while expressing appreciation to the bank for the lofty idea charged all to contribute to the cleanliness and proper waste disposal in the state.
He appealed to the state government to make soft loan available so as to contribute to the state cleanliness.
Representative of Sterling bank, who doubles as the bank Regional Manger, south west, Mr. Ademola Adeyemi noted that the partnership with the government aimed at improving the environment, saying “the environment contributes a major part to good living and good health.”
Describing the gesture as one of the ways to support the government, he assured government of more support especially in the area of uniform replacement and expansion of the work force (sweepers).
After the event, the environment commissioner led the environmental monitoring team which comprises officials of the Ondo State Waste Management Authority to inspect the popular Oja Oba market as well as the Arakale parking lot among others.