“Just channel am go dat river wey dey that road” (Make a path for flood water to drain into that water body at the end of a street without any form of treatment) is a common phrase in many communities in Nigeria.
It’s become so because climate change is having its toll on communities in the Global south. Runoff from heavy rainfall floods streets and homes with or without proper culverts or gutters as it is popularly called. There is a growing BAD CULTURE of people dumping trash into drainage channels. This act has blocked the drainage pathways, thereby causing more pain from the floods, especially as the rains drop on Mother Earth more irregularly.
Sadly, this act has been encouraged by the poor sanitary culture of many people and by a government who build gutters/culverts without covering, endangering pedestrians and other road users on a daily basis.
This is an ongoing project by Iyere Ernest which aims to awaken the people to the need to take care of their environment/ecosystems wherein we are only a part. It is a call on peoples and the government to rethink waste generation and management. Ernest examines the state of some flood control channels in Benin City, Edo State such as canals, underground flood tunnels, culverts etc.in and around homes in the city.
The very precious heritage sites-The Bini Moats has also been lost to waste disposal and floodwater drains. These, if preserved and cared for would have served as a source of income for the state and Nigeria. Mahatma Gandhi said cleanliness is next to godliness. With a clean environment, we stand a better chance of surviving climate change-induced flooding as the world moves to a 2/3 degree warming due to refusal by corporations and the government to stop fossil fuel extraction and reduce the amount of carbon and other greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere.
It is high time we embraced a clean culture. It is time to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. It’s time to reduce the amount of plastic we produce and use. It’s time to learn to REDUCE, REUSE AND RECYCLE. It’s time for the government to create proper waste dumps and encourage regular waste collection. We need to act now!
Iyere Ernest (24th Street Pictures) is a photographer with an eye for the stories on the streets. Text was written by Babawale Obayanju.