ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Government says it is making concerted efforts with the Federal Government and some international agencies to mitigate the environmental problems facing the state.
The Commissioner for the Environment, Iselema Gbaranbiri made this known during a live radio programme, ‘Viewpoint’, on Rhythm 94.7 FM in Yenagoa, the state capital.
Most parts of Yenagoa have been submerged by floods, forcing affected residents to relocate from their houses amid loss of property and other valuables.
The commissioner, who reiterated the government’s resolve in tackling environmental crises, also said the government had already started test-running a technology to tackle floods and flash floods in the state capital.
He noted that flooding is a natural phenomenon and that the problems would not be properly handled, if done in a hurry.
He equally said the government had set up a technical committee headed by the Vice Chancellor of Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Amassoma, Prof. Samuel Edoumiekumo, to proffer lasting solutions.
According to him, in a bid to ameliorate the rising cases of flash floods, the government has commenced the disilting and clearing up of blocked water channels in the state capital.
Gbaranbiri also said that in preparation for the impending flood, the government would engage council chairmen to mark designated internally displaced persons (IDP) camps across the state.
Gbaranbiri stated: “The environment laws inherited from Rivers State have become obsolete and as such the Bayelsa State government is now drafting a law to fit the contemporary Bayelsa environment.
“The committee members are drawn from public and private stakeholders. The executive bill will be sent to the state House of Assembly for passage anytime soon.
“Furthermore, timely evacuation of wastes from receptacles is on course which has earned the state capital as one of the cleanest in the country. We also frown on the unpleasant and evil act of dumping dead newborn babies on the streets and receptacles around the state.
“We want to use this opportunity to call on Bayelsans to be patient with the government as the perennial flood and other environment related challenges rocking the state are being addressed.
“We are also calling on well meaning Bayelsans to complement the efforts of the government by building on appropriate locations and not on water courses; blocking water passages which are contributors to floods.”