By Florence Onuegbu, Lagos.
Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, wife of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, says the state generates 2.2 million litres of untreated domestic wastewater daily.
She made this known in Victoria Island at the three-day “Workshop on Regulating Urban Sanitation Services: Faecal Sludge/Wastewaste Management Guidelines and Standards”.
Sanwo-Olu said the 2.2 million litres of untreated domestic wastewater generated daily, was based on the projected 120 litres of water used by each person per day.
She said that with a population of over 20 million and annual growth of 2.9 per cent, sanitation management was currently a challenge in Lagos state.
According to her, the dire situation on ground calls for all hands to be on deck, to ensure effective and efficient regulation of faecal sludge management.
Sanwo-Olu said that this would help to safeguard the environment and protect water resources of the state, while mitigating incidence of waterborne diseases.
“As a medical doctor, I am conscious of the fact that all waterborne diseases are deadly. Experts have also established that there is an unbreakable relationship between health and the environment. They are both intertwined!
“As a matter of fact, the negative impact of inadequate and improper regulation of faecal sludge management on the health of people in general and children, in particular, is crystal clear and well known.
“Diarrhoea, for instance, is the second largest killer of children below 5 years in Nigeria, only next to pneumonia. According to the World Health Organisation (WH0), 88 per cent of diarrhoea cases are attributable to factors essentially originating from poor management of excreta disposal,” she said.
Sanwo-Olu said that without effective regulation, the dreams of having a livable, healthy, safe, and secure environment would continue to be a mirage.
The governor’s wife said that there must be a structured and sustainable arrangement in place to regulate and properly manage the faecal sludge value chain, starting from the collection, transportation, treatment and disposal, which, in turn, would yield both economic and environmental benefits to the state.
In his welcome remarks, Dr Omobolaji Gaji, the Permanent Secretary, Office of Environmental Services, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, said that Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration had accorded sanitation a high priority.
Gaji said that it was a known fact that six in 10 people lacked access to safely managed sanitation services, while nearly 1,000 children died due to preventable water and sanitation related diseases.
He called on stakeholders to support and come up with a far-reaching solution that would reduce the health bills of Lagos citizenry, induced by waterborne and sanitation related diseases.
Giving her welcome address, Mrs Funke Adepoju, the Executive Secretary, Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission (LASWARCO). said that the workshop was organised by LASWARCO, in partnership with the Faecal Sludge Management Alliance (FSMA), to tap from local and international expertise and best practices for effective faecal sludge management.
Adepoju said the workshop was a necessary beginning, needed for long term sanitation transition, to improve effectiveness of sanitation transition and ensure regulatory systems for public health.
She underscored the need for stakeholders to key into the policy guidelines that would galvanise and up-skill critical sector players in the state in sustainably managing faecal sludge.