Agu Dawn, Abuja
The Federal Ministry of Environment has called attention to the need for technologically sound structures for the containment, collection and treatment of human waste for proper sanitary hygiene practices across the country.
The ministry says the adverse impacts of climate change on sanitation systems, the rising spate of flood, drought and rising sea levels have contributed to factors threatening sanitation systems.
The Minister of Environment Dr. Mohammed Abubarkar made the call at the 2020 World Toilet Day; World Toilet Day is set aside to draw attention to the plight of billions of people who do not have access to healthy sanitary conditions, it is being commemorated with the theme ‘’Sustainable Sanitation and Climate Change’’.
The minister said sanitary facilities remain a mirage to the majority of Nigerians, claiming that about 47 million Nigerians still practice open defecation.
Dr. Mohammed, however, said to change the situation, the active participation of various sectors of government, development partners, NGOs, local communities must be encouraged for reasonable impact to be made.
‘‘Many people still use the bush and water bodies as their regular means for excreta disposal. Many institutions do not have sanitary facilities and where they exist they are either not functioning or misused. H
‘‘Most urban areas do not have sewerage systems, safe collection of sewage and disposal, therefore, become a huge challenge as many of the bodies of water including rivers and streams become a repository for sewage and wastewater.
‘‘One of the major consequences of poor excreta and sewage disposal is the high rate of diarrhoeal disease which is the second cause of high morbidity and mortality rates amongst children under the age of five.
‘‘I invite the private sector and other stakeholders to partner with the Ministry and Government at all levels in providing sanitary facilities for our communities especially the rural areas where open defecation is a norm.
“The Federal Ministry of Environment in collaboration with critical stakeholders has within the past one year constructed and handed over modern public toilets to State Governments. These toilets which are a component of the Ministry’s Community Based Waste Management programme are to be managed by private sector operators for viability and sustainability.
‘‘Other toilet projects are at various stages of completion and it is our expectation that this will be replicated in all the Local Governments of the federation. I, therefore, call on the Private Sector, Development Partners, NGOs, CBOs, Professional bodies e.t.c to partner with us on this laudable initiative”.