Cheo Benard Nsoh, widely known as Star Boy, had aspirations of participating in cultural festivals, driven by his love and promotion of culture. However, his promising life was abruptly cut short on October 23 while returning from entertaining at various cabarets in town.
Tragically, he was struck by a car near the Ntarinkon Market while riding his bike. The Bamenda City Council had neglected the decaying garbage that surrounded the incident site.
The city authorities had ignored the pile of trash, which was primarily from the Ntarinkon market and nearby homes, as it had spread across an entire lane of the narrow road.
A bike rider who rushed Star Boy to the hospital shared, “Unfortunately, he was declared dead on arrival at the hospital.”
Star Boy’s untimely demise has been swiftly attributed to the neglected garbage issue. Drivers in the area complain that the garbage not only darkens the surroundings and narrows the road, but the foul odour emanating from the pile can be distressing from as far as 500 metres away, creating hazardous conditions.
“Only the garbage could have caused such an accident,” remarked Muleng, a cab driver, emphasising that the road had been dangerously constricted, contributing to fatal accidents.
Following the incident on October 23, the Bamenda City Council promptly cleared the waste. However, some speculate that the swift response indicates the Council’s awareness of their negligence leading to Star Boy’s tragic fate.
A family member remarked, “The suspicious promptness of the Bamenda City Council only confirms that they are aware the garbage they abandoned on the street is the cause of Star Boy’s death.”
The Challenge of Garbage Management for City Officials
For years, the Bamenda City Council, under various appointed government delegates and now an elected City Mayor, has struggled to maintain cleanliness in the city. Their waste management initiatives have proven ineffective, resulting in a pervasive garbage problem in Bamenda.
City Council authorities have often attributed their shortcomings to the tense security atmosphere since 2016. Despite the excuses, Bamenda continues to accumulate both biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste weekly, with the refuse ending up on the roadside.
An environmentalist criticised the Council’s approach, stating, “That only transfers the health and environmental damage to another site.” He recommended embracing waste management techniques such as recycling, where the community sorts the waste and the council handles collection and recycling.
In Bamenda, the impact of waste extends beyond air pollution and surface degradation; the leachate can contaminate surface and underground water, posing risks to human and aquatic ecosystems.
Star Boy was laid to rest on November 4th at the family compound in Ntamafe, Mankon. Family members emphasise that cleaning up Bamenda City is the most fitting way for the City Council to honor Star Boy’s memory.