The Rivers State Waste Management Agency has often blamed the poor state of sanitation in Rivers State, Port Harcourt in particular, on the inefficiency of contractors hired by the agency to collect and dispose waste in the state. The agency claimed the contractors are regularly paid, but often fail in their assignments. In June last year, the agency sacked four contractors over poor performance.

The agency is resorting to a reward system to artificially stimulate these contractors to be more effective in performing their jobs. The sole administrator of the agency, Felix Obuah, has set up a committee, headed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Jerry Needam, to monitor and assess the contractors, and select a best performing service provider who will be rewarded with a N500,000 cash prize. The agency expects that this will spark a competition among the contractors, and spur them to effectively and efficiently carry out their tasks.

The poor waste management in the state has been a source of concern to many residents. Governor Wike also admits that the government has not lived up to the environmental challenge. He said in a radio interview last year, that the state commits half a billion naira every month to tackle waste management in the state. 

Despite the huge allocation to the agency, some streets in Port Harcourt are usually still littered with waste from homes and business offices. On sanitation days, silt from drainage channels are often left on the streets for days. Another area of concern has been a habit by the residents to gather waste (usually not properly bagged) at the median of major roads in Port Harcourt. This behaviour can be traced to the lack of an efficient system to effectively collect the wastes from people’s homes.