The Federal Government says the country is close to meeting the Open Defecation Free (ODF) target by 2025.
Minister of Water Resources, Mr. Suleiman Adamu, who said this in a function in Bauchi State also declared local government councils in Bauchi State as open defecation free.
Represented by his permanent secretary, Dr. Musa Ibrahim, the minister said the feat was achieved in partnership with other implementing partners, adding that it showed that Nigeria was close to meeting the ODF target by 2025.
Adamu said the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Diagnostic Report by the World Bank showed that Nigeria had made steady progress in the provision of safe water.
He, however, expressed concern that the nation had not made corresponding progress in sanitation and hygiene sector.
The minister, who said efforts in the past to address sanitation challenges yielded minimal results, assured that that a critical look at the issues showed that it would not be business as usual.
He said the ministry had launched the Partnership for Expanded Water Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) programme to seek stakeholders’ commitment to improve access to WASH, especially in the rural areas.
The minister said the ministry had started providing sanitation and hygiene facilities in the country with special consideration for the North-East, as part of its responses to the humanitarian needs of the people.
“The benefits of access to WASH facilities, especially of living in an Open Defecation Free environment, impacts on the education, health, security and socio-economic wellbeing of the people.
“In this regard, I wish to commend the people of Dass Local Government Area for their commitment toward behavioural change,” he said.
He urged the people of the area to be steadfast in such behaviour, adding that a relapse would deny them the inherent benefits of WASH facilities.
Permanent Secretary, Bauchi Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA), Mr Garba Magaji, said the celebration marked a significant milestone in the history of the state over 15 years ago.
Magaji said with collaborative partnership with other stakeholders, the state had been able to have 351 communities working with hygiene promoters to sustain practices through the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach.
He said hand washing, at critical times with tippy taps, was now being practiced in 70 schools, with no fewer than 21,198 households imbibing same practice for overall hygiene promotion.
The permanent secretary said it was worthy of note that no one in the entire local government defecates in the open.
He asserted that the impact was already being felt with the reduction in visits to hospitals and an increase in pupils’ attendance and completion of schools.
Magaji pledged the commitment of the agency to sustain the ODF status by moving up toward attaining the total sanitation status of improving the quality of households and public toilets, and over hygiene promotion in the state.
Bauchi State Commissioner for Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Ayuba, said the achievement was worthy of celebration.
He said the feat was made possible with support from the U.K. Department for International Development/UNICEF in its Sanitation, Hygiene and Water in Nigeria (SHAWN) project.
Ayuba thanked the donor agencies and partners for their commitment toward scaling up sanitation and hygiene in the state.
The commissioner said that Warji and Gamawa Local Government Areas were also working to meet the ODF status.
Mr Drissa Yeo, of UNICEF Nigeria Field Office, said the agency was honoured to be part of the celebration, following the concerted efforts put in over the years.
Yeo commended the Bauchi State Government and the people of Dass Local Government Area for their commitment to move up the sanitation ladder.
Plastic Pollution: NGO Inaugurates Recycling Hub In Lagos
A Non-Governmental Organisation, Foundation for a Better Environment (FABE International), on Thursday inaugurated a recycling hub in Lagos to promote environmental sustainability and curb plastic pollution in the state.
Founder, FABE International, Mrs Temitope Okunnu, said the recycling hub was established in collaboration with the Coca-Cola Foundation.
She said the recycling hub, located in Victoria Garden City (VGC), Lagos, was part of the Foundation’s project tagged, “Tidy Nigeria.”
According to her, that the choice of situating a recycling hub in a residential estate was due to the great amount of plastic wastes generated there.
Okunnu said promoting environmental sustainability must begin from the home-front, where these wastes are first generated.
“Today we are launching “Tidy Nigeria” here at the VGC, it is specifically for the residents, the business areas and its environs.
“This project is actually sponsored by the Coca-Cola Foundation, and to us it is a big deal,” she said.
According to her, there is a need and a gap when it comes to community recycling: “We do a lot of collection at the beach, at the dump site. But most recyclables are generated from our homes.
“So, this is what has prompted this project; we need to bring recycling closer to our people so that it is easy for them to recycle and live sustainably.
“We have been preaching and sensitising the communities about waste segregation, how to sort waste into recyclables and non-recyclables.
“We have brought the recycling hub to make it easier for people to sort their waste.”
Stressing the need to promote environmental sustainability, Mrs Nwamaka Onyemelukwe, the Director, Public Affairs, Communication and Sustainability, Coca-Cola, said the partnership with FABE served the company’s goal in fighting plastic pollution.
“This project is being launched today because as a company we need to see people taking action against plastic pollution.
Groups Mobilise Volunteers To Clean Up Lagos
A global civic organisation, Let’s Do It World (LDIW), in collaboration with Green Janitors, on Saturday mobilised community volunteers to Clean-up Lagos State.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the exercise is in commemoration of the World Clean-up Day.
World Clean-up Day is celebrated on September 17 annually.
It is the outcome of a massive volunteer initiative, pioneered in Estonia in 2008, when 50,000 volunteers cleaned up their homes in five hours.
LDIW coordinates and supports the global movement, inspiring and empowering leaders to raise awareness and move countries toward sustainable solutions for the environment.
The LDIW Coordinator for Africa, Mr Gafar Odubote, said at the event that the clean-up was being carried simultaneously across many countries to create environmental sustainability awareness.
He said that getting residents involved in environmental sanitation would enhance sustainability.
“The World Clean-up Day is uniting millions of volunteers in 191 countries to clean up their environments; Nigeria is one of these countries,” he said.
The coordinator said that the clean-up was being carried out simultaneously all over the world and across the 36 states of Nigeria.
“In Lagos State, we have close to 30 or 40 clean-up sites. It is also going on at the beachfront, offshore and on the land.
“The importance of the clean-up is to demonstrate that people can come together to create a massive change in our environment through sustainable actions.
“People coming out to show that we can clean up environment is a way to heighten awareness that the environment is important to us,” Odubote said.
Ms Suliyat Oguns, Team Lead of Green Janitors, urged the volunteers to make environmental sanitation regular to ensure a healthy and sustainable environment.
“Today, we commemorate the International World Clean-up Day, and we are celebrating it as a team under Green Janitors in Bariga.
“We are in partnership with Junior Club International, Rotary Club, Lions Club, Leo’s Club and Sustainable Development Advocates of the University of Lagos.
“Clean-up is not just for Sept. 17. Let us all ensure that after this event, everybody in our environment gets to know that once we clean up, it is going to reflect in our environment.
“The thing we are actually fighting for is a world without wastes, that is our final goal,” she said.
She said that the group desired that Nigerians should know the essence of maintaining a clean environment.
“Reuse, reduce and recycle. We do not have to waste materials that can be converted to other uses.
“The host community for today’s clean-up is Akoka Community, people have come massively to volunteer in the exercise,” Oguns said.
Commending the efforts of the groups, Mr Adegboyega Adefuwa , Environment Supervisor, Bariga Local Government, called on the community members to take clean-up as a personal responsibility.
“The exercise is a laudable programme being supported by the executive Chairman of the Bariga LGA, Mr Kolade Alabi, for the well-being of our environment.
UNICEF Warns Of Acute Water Shortage
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has hinted that Nigeria’s continued reliance on surface water sources may lead to acute shortage, impacting negatively on livelihoods and wellbeing of the population.
UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins,said this when he featured on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum, a special interview programme, in Abuja.
He said due to population growth, Nigeria made slow progress in improving access to potable water for the citizens, with access only at 10 per cent, calling for more investments in the sector.
According to him, there is need for the country to seek water storage alternatives through harvesting and sustainable conservation.
“In terms of provision of clean water, there are two levels.
“The actual increase has been, I think it was, about 10 per cent or 11 per cent increase about access to clean water.
“But when you look at the population growth and where the population has moved to, I am afraid Nigeria is going backwards on access to clean water.
“Nigeria relies a lot on the water table and on surface water.
“The water table with climate change and the massive population, Nigeria potentially has a crisis looming in the future.
“I am talking about 10, 20, 30 years and its reliance on surface water, without the infrastructure to meet it, is always going to be a burden on the country.
“So, it has to look at different ways of capturing water, making water available, especially in the urban areas; piping water and making it better available, that will require a considerable investment.” The UNICEF representative noted that the biggest progress in the sector was the declaration of a state of emergency in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2018.
He said this had led to more local governments becoming open defecation-free and communities taking ownership of their sanitation and hygiene needs.
Hawkins said UNICEF had introduced the annual Water, Sanitation and Hygiene National Outcome Routine Mapping (WASHNORM) Report for all stakeholders to monitor progress made in water and sanitation at the state level.
According to him, Nigeria needs N3 billion annually to make reasonable change.
“So the data now is there and that is owned by and produced by the Ministry of Water Resources for State level entities.
“So you can see where your State is going and what is required, but then it requires massive investment.
“The level of investment I think, if I remember correctly, is between the region of N3 billion a year if Nigeria were to catch up with any sort of reasonable level of access to clean water and good sanitation.
“That level of investment, it needs to take place and if it doesn’t take place I am afraid, over the next 20, 30 years, that Nigeria will be faced with serious consequences.
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