With Joke Adeniyi
The rain is here again. It is one of the most desirable elements of nature. Though it is here for a season, it is a period many look forward to. Little wonder rumbling sound that heralds the rain causes excitement among the young and old. I recall that as a young child my siblings and I used to play in the rain, oblivious of the danger and at the risk of being caught by our parents and given strokes of the cane. It was always a refreshing experience getting wet and playing in the puddle created by rainwater. The rainy season is also delight to farmers because of its agricultural activities. However, the showers or blessing could turn to a ‘curse,’ when it rains heavily, causing destruction and loss. Roads are sometimes flooded and water enters into homes. An instance was penultimate week during a heavy downpour when the Yidi-road was flooded and became practically impassable for vehicles. Motorists had to wait till the water receded before moving.
One of the factors that account for flooding is poor drainage system. Despite inadequate drainage system in Ilorin, Kwara State capital, the increasing population in the capital city is taking a toll on environment management viz-a-viz hygiene.
It is observed that in areas where there are drainages they do not serve the desired purpose because they are not constructed to specification. Blocked drainage systems are sometimes caused by improper designs.
Also the indiscriminate dumping of refuse in drainage as a result of poor disposal system by residents cause poor sanitation as it leads to the blockages of drains. Understandably, the state capital has experienced influx of people, which has contributed to the generation of waste. It is common sight, particularly in the indigenous part of the metropolis to see people drop debris and waste materials into drains which hinder the flow of water in the drains. Once the people hear the rumbling sound of rain they pack their gabbage, which they drop in the drainage with the expectation that it will get washed away by flowing water from the rain. Unfortunately, these dirts don’t get cleared and so, clog the drains. In a situation like this, flooding is imminent because moving water will always create alternative path when its route is blocked. And, when drainages are blocked, the asphalt layers of the roads are washed away destroying the road. The bitumen and other dirty are washed into the drainage system, thus causing further damage. Apart from the problem of flooding, the life span of the road is affected where there are silted drainages. Drainage system is the most important aspect of design, construction and maintenance of any road because poor drainage system will reduce the life of the pavement and have serious environmental impacts.
The poor maintenance of drainage system has in addition contributed in no small measure to this problem. When a drainage system is not properly maintained, aside the wastes, plants grow and there are leakages which hinder free flow of water in the drain, and when not tackled early leads to flooding.
Coupled with this is the attendant health hazard, which blocked drainage can constitute. Blocked water channels are a major breeding ground for mosquitoes among others.
Obviously, residents have a role to play in averting flooding in the state particular in Ilorin metropolis. Recall that the state has had records of flooding in past years. Towards this end, residents must ensure consistent clearing of drainages. Structures must not be built on drainage system because it is a way to reduce flooding. It is necessary that government and residents employ adequate and proper maintenance culture of drainages.
The state government should address the poor or non-existent drainage system in parts of the state to avert disaster. Where necessary, there should be reconstruction of drains to specification so as to serve its purpose.
The state Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Otunba Taiwo Joseph must be commended for its efforts at desilting drainages across the state capital. But, more needs to be done in this regard as the problem of blocked drainages still persists. The ministry should also deploy environmental health inspectors for monitoring purpose to ensure that residents are prevented from dumping refuse in their drainages.
Since we know the problem, we know the solution, we only need to act, and act now! Prevention is better than cure. Flooding is avoidable.