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Group, UNICEF To Introduce Water, Sanitation Clubs In Schools

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The Youth Water Sanita
tion and Hygiene (YOUTHWASH), in partnership with the UN Children’s Fund is set to introduce school sanitation clubs to encourage young people promote hygienic practices.
The group coordinator, Mr Nature Obiakor, told news- men in Abuja that this ` would also help in educating them on healthy living.
He said there was the need to build the capacity of young persons, adding “they are the future leaders, capable of making desired change.”
According to him, schools are important points of learning behavioural practices capable of being replicated at homes among parents and guardians.
“When children learn about the importance of water, hygiene and sanitation, they make informed decisions; they could tell their parents, guardians, and friends on the dangers of not practicing hygienic behaviour.
“We are partnering with UNICEF and WaterAid Nigeria to make this a reality, we are commencing in FCT schools, with time, we will replicate it in other parts of the country.”
He said the project was in line with the implementation of the African Ministers Council on Water Policy and strategy for youth mainstreaming in water and sanitation project.
Obiakor said that water and jobs were related, as it could be an avenue for entrepreneurial development, saying “when water was available, young people could get job opportunities.
“We believe that water and sanitation is a cross cutting issue, we need water for agriculture, we need water for building purposes, we need water when you want to live healthy.
“While we talk about Water and jobs, there are so many other aspects of water that provides or creates jobs.
“In Abuja here, you find out that there are a lot of boreholes, the borehole drills are being fabricated by people.
“The fabrication of the borehole drilling machine is an opportunity for young persons,” he said.
He said Nigeria could not talk about water without talking about sanitation, adding that the group was exploring job opportunities in recycling waste management and energy for the youths.
The coordinator stressed the need for Nigerians to pay for water consumed; stating that although water was free, the processes for purifying water was not free.
He urged Nigerians to demand for water from its leaders, as it was a human right.
“My advice is that Nigerians must understand that we must pay for water, because a lot of Nigerians out there believe that water is free, it is just a free gift of nature and you are not supposed to pay for it.
“The raw water might be free, but the process of purifying that water is not free, people must understand that they must pay for the use.
“People should also realise that WASH is a basic human right, and they should start demanding from government, from politicians to ensure that these rights are gotten,” Obiakor.

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Expert Seeks Strong Punitive Measures Against Open Defecation

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An environmentalist, Mr Gafar Odubote, says it will be difficult to eradicate open defecation until strong punishments are meted on offenders.
Speaking with The Tide source in Lagos recently Odubote, Network Coordinator, Africa Region Let’s Do It World (LDIW), also called for increased awareness on the dangers of open defecation to health.
He said introduction of stiffer penalties by different levels of government against offenders would serve as deterrent to others.
“When people are being punished and fined for indiscriminate open defecation, it is then we will notice a shift in attitude as regards the practice,
According to the environmentalist, Nigeria ranked high amongst nations with open defecation practices simply because of the lack of adequate awareness on its dangers to health.
He noted that those who had the awareness were obstinate when cautioned.
Odubote noted also that Nigeria had an estimated 46 million people defecating openly.
“With a country like ours, with a vast population, we need to appropriately sensitise citizens on the dangers of open defecation to human health and the environment.
“We need strong laws and effective system to curb unsanitary defecation and make Nigeria open defecation-free by 2025, as projected by the federal ministry of water resources, in its road map of 2019.
“We have a lot to do to discourage open defecation practices in Nigeria. We need to put adequate laws and punishments in place to stop open defecation in the country.
“We are aware of activities in place by various governments and NGOs to stop open defecation.
“ Open defecation is one of the origins of waste pollution in the environment. It ranges from air, land, and most especially water pollution,’’ he said.
Odubote emphasised the need to install strong disciplinary measures against defaulters to be able to checkmate the menace.
“Open defecation also has negative effects on the aesthetics of our environment. It erodes the beauty of the environment and increases stench in the atmosphere.
“Open defecation practice is an attitudinal problem because some Nigerians will know readily that something is bad and injurious to their health and that of others, yet they will still do it,’’ he said.
Odubote asked authorities to also provide adequate and regularly maintained sanitary toilet services, so that the campaign to make Nigeria open defecation-free could be attained.

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Environment

‘Nigeria Loses 200bn Cubic Meter Of Fresh Water To Atlantic Ocean Annually’

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An expert, Engr Daso Mark Derefake, says Nigeria loses 200 billion cubic meter of fresh water annually to the Atlantic ocean.
Derefake, who is the managing director of Niger Delta Basin Development Authority (NDBDA) said this during the celebration of the 2021 World Rivers Day in Port Harcourt by the authority.
He said that Niger Delta area was contributing 14 billion cubic meters to the country’s fresh water loss to the Atlantic ocean.
“Waterways in the catchment area are equally changing due to human activities within our surrounding communities.
Nigeria loses 200 billion cubic meter of fresh water to the Atlantic ocean annually with our catchment area contributing 14 billion cubic meters lose”.
The NDBDA managing director said if the water is properly harnessed and utilised, it will boost the nation’s agricultural production, sustain industries, create employment for youths as well as give sufficient useable water to the communities within the agency’s catchment states.
He listed some activities of water pollution in the Niger Delta to includes fertilizer and pesticide being washed into the rivers, dumping of plastic waste and other non-biodegradable wastes into drains, open defecation, indiscriminate exploitation of ground and surface water, oil spill into rivers which decimate aquatic lives.
Derefake also stressed the need for the rejuvenation of policies to revive the rivers.
According to him, the water ways should be cleaned periodically of debris and regular distilling between 3-5 years, sensitisation of communities for the preservation of rivers and water ways in the region, while open defecation should be discouraged in the Niger Delta.
He also urged for the establishment of recycling plants to recycle non-biodegradable products and plastic, while relevant laws against over exploitation of water bodies within the catchment area should be enforced.
Other recommendations includes planting of trees along river banks to improve aesthetics and make for greener environment, while private sector participation in water rejuvenation should be encouraged.

By: John Bibor

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Environment

NEMA Tasks Residents In Flood Plains On Positive Attitude

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The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has called on people living in flood prone areas to have a change of attitude towards the environment to minimise the negative impacts of floods.
Head, Abuja Area Operation Office of NEMA, Mr Justin Uwazuruonue,made the call in Lokoja, at a one-day stakeholders workshop on flood sensitisation campaign.
He said that the increasing cases of flood disaster and its attendant damage to means of livelihood and property were largely due to the poor attitude of the people to the environment.
Nwazuruonnye, who reminded the people that the occurrence of floods in Kogi State has become a yearly one, stressed the need for all hands to be on deck to minimise the effects of the disaster.
He also called on the people to start taking flood warnings and predictions from relevant government agencies seriously.
The NEMA chief further urged stakeholders to regularly visit people in flood prone communities with a view to cautioning them on their actions and inactions, leading to flood disaster.
He also called on residents of flood prone nine local governments in the state to get ready to relocate to safer places in case of floods.
“This will prevent or limit loss of lives , damage to property and the environment,” he said.
The Executive Secretary of the Kogi State Emergency Management Agency (KOSEMA), Mr Sunday Obari, told stakeholders at the workshop that government had set up a task force to enforce relocation of residents living in flood plains.
He also disclosed that the government had established camps in Lokoja, Idah , Koton Karfe and other communities for those that were likely to be displaced from their houses by the impending floods.
He called on participants to come up with suggestions that would help in reducing the impact of the flood disaster on the people and the environment.
Obari also called on flood desk officers in the nine flood prone local governments to work in synergy and get acquainted with telephone number of emergency providers across the state.
The workshop was attended by stakeholders from the Red Cross, health, security agencies and marine sectors.

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