A Port Harcourt-based advocacy group, the Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD) has called on the Rivers State Government to provide toilets in public places, such as markets and schools to avoid open defecation and preventable diseases.
The group expressed dismay that many schools, market places, offices and homes across the state did not have toilets, while the few that have cannot boast of sustainable water source for sanitation.
A statement signed by the Innovative and Sustainability Officer, CEHRD, Epsibari Fiiwe and made available to the Tide in Port Harcourt was against the backdrop of the 2018 World Toilet Day with the theme ‘When Nature Calls’.
It said that the lack of decent toilets places has forced students, traders and community members to defecate openly into rivers and farm lands, thereby causing avoidable diseases and called for the intervention of relevant authorities.
The group which says it is committed to sustainable Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programmes especially in community schools advised others to do their bit to make the State free of open defecation to help to achieve a clean and healthy environment for all.
The statement reads, “Girls and women suffer more because of the vulnerable physiology of their female genitalia which easily exposes them to diseases. Also, they face sexual violations and other physical insecurities from going out to defecate at late hours.
“Students, traders, community members are forced to defecate openly into rivers and nearby farms. The use of nylon bags, papers and containers for defecation are common and inc reases the waste menace in Rivers State.
“We call on the Rivers State Governmen t to ensure that public places such as schools, markets, fueling stations, bus stations, restaurants and worship places have suitable toilet facilities with sustainable water source. Also, these places should be inspected regularly for proper hygiene and sanitation. Home owners, private and public landlords should ensure that adequate toilets are provided in their houses.“It is a time to reflect on the number of people that do not have the luxury of modern toilet facilities, who contact diseases and encounter mishaps in the process. This is an urgent plea for intervention and rescue of those who do not have access to proper toilets,” Fiiwe said.
By: Dennis Naku.