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Low Attention, Invesment In Sanitation Worry UNICEF

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recently, expressed concern over the low attention and investment in the sanitation sector in Nigeria.
A UNICEF Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Specialist, Ms Mainga Banda, spoke at the opening of a Media Dialogue on WASH in Awka, Anambra.
It was organised by UNICEF in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Information.
Banda said that access to WASH in the country was critical as its absence affects health, nutrition and education.
She said that Nigeria was among the top three countries practising open defecation, stressing the need for increased investment to reverse this trend.
Banda said it was saddening to note that 75.8 per cent of people practising open defecation was in the rural areas.
She called for sustainable ways to close the gaps toward ensuring that everyone has access to improved sanitation and hygiene.
The specialist observed that much impact has not been seen in the 15 years of intervention, as many people were still practising open defecation.
Banda urged the stakeholders to do more to scale up interventions in hygiene promotion.
She said that UNICEF was working with WASH committees, especially in the rural areas to scale up access to WASH through the use of Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS).
The WASH specialist said that with availability of toilets, behaviour change would occur and people would also understand the importance of scaling up hygiene promotion practices.
“It is important for Nigeria to invest in WASH, if the country would meet the Sustainable Development Goals before 2030.
“Access to WASH has a great impact on health, education and nutrition; we must do more to better our lives,” Banda said.
She said there was need for promotion of safely managed excreta, adding that it involves the need to ensure that toilets were covered at all times with fly proof items.
Contributing, Mr Olumide Osanyinpeju, the Head, Child Rights Information Bureau, Federal Ministry of Information, urged the media to advocate improved access to water and sanitation, especially in the rural areas.
Osanyinpeju said that concerted efforts were needed by all to support the provision of safe drinking water for all Nigerians, noting that access to water and sanitation means inclusive development for all.
He commended UNICEF and EU for being at the fore-front in ensuring that every Nigerian has access to potable water and sanitation.

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Stakeholders Want Implementation Of Waste Management Policy

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As Rivers State and Nigeria joined the rest of the world to celebrate the 2021 World Environment Day last Saturday, some civil society organisations have called for the implementation of the nation’s waste management policy.
They said this at a tree planting programme organised by African Clean-up Initiative, Rivers State Network, in collaboration with School of Environmental Health Technology, Rivers State College of Health Science and Management Technology and Junior Chamber International (JCI) in Port Harcourt Metro at the college premises in Port Harcourt.
Declaring the event open, the Dean, School of Environmental Health, Rivers State College of Health Science and Management Technology, Port Harcourt, Mr Cyprian Mbato said the event was to create awareness and insight of what the World Environment Day is all about.
“The World Environment Day is a day in which we spread awareness about the environment and the need to conserve it.
“Moreover, it is essential to advocate for a greener environment and conservation of nature”
According to him, the continuous sensitisation will enable future generations to lead a healthier life.
“It is essential for all to realise that every little deed matters when it comes to saving the environment.
“No matter how small, a step you are taking to lead a greener lifestyle, it does make a difference”, he said.
Also speaking, the Rivers State Chairman of Waste Management Society of Nigeria (WAMASON), Mr Benson Abu called for the restoration of the national ecosystem.
Abu also called for support for the national policy on solid waste management and the plastic waste management policy initiative and support for restoration or conservation initiative including cleaning up of a lake, beach, park and other national areas.
He also called for greening of homes, business, school or public space as professional members with indigenous trees or plants as well as halting products and services that are not environmentally friendly.
Also speaking, President Junior Chamber international, Port Harcourt Metro, Mr Martin Luther William said the celebration is important as it will help to create awareness on the importance of tree planting to protect the environment.
He stressed the need for members of the public to cultivate habits that are environmentally friendly.
Later in an interview, Rivers State team leader of African Clean-up Initiative, Rivers State Network, Miss Grace Belema Leonard said the organisation is working with a vision of planting one million trees in Africa to promote environmental sustainability across the continent.
She said over one 100 trees will be planted in Rivers State before 2025.

By: John Bibor

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Disquiet In Rivers Communities Over 2021 Flood Outlook

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There is disquiet in some Rivers State Communities over the 2021 flood outlook.
The Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NHISA) had predicted that some states in the country including Rivers State will experience coastal flooding this year.
Some of the communities particularly those along the Orashi River said the situation will spell doom for them as they are yet to overcome the damages caused by last year’s flooding.
Speaking in an interview with The Tide in Port Harcourt, the Eze Igbu Ubie of Ubie Kingdom Ahoada West Local Government area, Eze Augustine Maxwell Okpokiri said another flooding this year will spell doom for his people.
Okpokiri said his people are passing through hard times following the level of devastation caused by last year’s flood.
According to him, NHISA’s prediction has made his people to be agitated over the hardship that lies ahead if the prediction comes to pass.
He said a part from losing farmlands, buildings and other properties to flood, lives were also lost in his Kingdom.
Okpokiri said victims of the disaster have not received any help from any quarters.
He also blamed the Federal Government and its agencies for refusing to come to the aid of his people.
The Ubie monarch also urged the Federal Government to evolve measures that will put to rest the incessant flooding in the area.
Who spoke under condition of anonymity, said the experiences of last year must never repeat itself.
He urged the government to dredge the Orashi River to allow the free flow of waters.

By: John Bibor

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Environment

Environmental Pollution: 707 Plant Species Endangered In Nigeria – Expert

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Out of the 4,600 plant species, about 707 have been said to be endangered with hundreds of species since gone into extinction in Nigeria.
This is due largely to the loss of habitat occasioned by environmental degradation and climate change.
Professor of Plant Physiology at the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Prof Stephen Umunna Offor revealed this at the 25th Inaugural Lecture of the university held at the main campus, Rumuolumeni, Port Harcourt, recently.
Delivery the lecture with the theme, “The Grandeur of Plants; Our Life and our Environment”, Offor revealed that the international Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), has categorized our plants and animals in Nigeria as being endangered.
Offor who explained that an endangered species or plant is an organism or a population of organizing that faces a high risk of becoming extinct due to loss of its habitat, high death rate and changes in the environment and prey said that the death rate of the plants due to exploitation and deforestation outweigh their birth rate over a period of time now.
Offor stated that every species and factors serve an important purpose in the community maintaining that plants, which serve as the primary producers play the major role in any ecological system by providing the primary source of food and oxygen as well as purifying the environment for the entire system.
The plant professor regretted however that the activities of ATPhase which functions to transport variety of different compounds like ions and phospholipids for energy in the environment have been adversely affected by environmental stress arising from toxicity of petroleum hydrocarbon.
He said “in Nigeria, the destruction rate of the environment has so far exceeded the breeding and recovering rate that the situation can only be come proper environmental education and training of the masses.”
While noting that the human life was dependent on plant, offor stressed the need for every stakeholder including the government and industrial organizations to owe it as a duty to protect any plant in the Nigeria environment and ensure their survival under stress and abnormal condition.

By: Lady Godknows Ogbulu

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