As open defection assumes alarming dimensions and proportions in Nigeria, environmentalists have called on the federal government to ensure that it fulfills its pledge to end the menace by 2025, approximately six years from now.
Programme Manager of the Kaduna-based Centre for Water and Environment Development (CWED), Doris Shanni Zakama, who made call while marking World Toilet Day along with students of Government Secondary School Afaka, a suburb of Kaduna metropolis, stated that World Toilet Day is significant because it is an annual global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the important role sanitation plays in reducing the spread of diseases and creating healthier communities in the society.
“Toilets save lives, because human waste spreads killer diseases. World Toilet Day is about kickstarting action to tackle the global sanitation crisis and reduce open defecation practice across the globe”, Zakama said, regretting that despite the dangers of open defection, ensuring availability and sustainable management of sanitation and water for all by 2030, remains a mirage.
She disclosed: “Today, 4.5 billion live without toilets, 892 million people still practice open defecation. The impact of exposure to human faeces on this scale has a devastating impact upon public health, living and working conditions, nutrition, education and economic productivity across the world”.
The programme manager outlined the dangers of open defecation to include:
*pollution of the environment thereby causing health hazards and leading to poverty and child mortality;
*wide-ranging diseases like typhoid, cholera hepatitis, polio, diarrhea, trachoma, etc.;
*water pollution, malnourishment and impediment to girl child education; and
*large disparities between the haves and the-have-nots.
Other non-state actors who graced the occasion, told Procyon News that sanitation solutions that offer better alternatives to open defecation were key, coupled with the political will to execute the projects.