Home Health World Toilet Day: WaterAid Advocates Increased Investment In Sanitation

World Toilet Day: WaterAid Advocates Increased Investment In Sanitation

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By Eric Ojo, Abuja

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark this year’s World Toilet Day, WaterAid has urged the Nigerian government and the international community to urgently increase investment in sanitation services.

WaterAid, which is currently working in 28 countries to change the lives of the poorest and most marginalized people, said the provision of safe, reliable, and inclusive sanitation services help prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

Since 1981, the international non-for-profit organization has reached 27 million people with clean water and 27 million people with decent toilets.

WaterAid also harped on the need for governments to include ambitious sanitation plans in their climate change adaptation strategies so communities are better prepared to withstand the impacts of climate change.

The international charity noted that living without a toilet endangers the health and livelihoods of the world’s most vulnerable people, adding that the risk of living without proper sanitation increases as climate change bites.

Toilets, according to WaterAid, are vital in the fight against the impact of climate change and infectious diseases but sadly 112 million people in Nigeria do not have a toilet of their own, including the 46 million that have no choice but to practice open defecation.

Currently, only 88 million people living in Nigeria (that is 44 percent of the population) can rely on safely managed sanitation, that is a toilet serviced to allowed human waste to be treated and disposed of safely.

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Moreover, about 32 million people (16 person of the population) have limited sanitation, that is the use of improved latrines where there is hygienic separation of human faeces from human contact but that is shared by two or more households.

As part of its activities to mark this year’s World Toilet Day, WaterAid has released a report titled, “Living in a Fragile World: The Impact of Climate Change on the Sanitation Crisis”.

“It is our World Toilet Day 2020 briefing which highlights the link between poor sanitation and the transmission of fatal, but preventable illnesses – such as cholera – and examines how these are now compounded by the effects of climate change”, WaterAid said in a statement made available to the media.

Interestingly, the WaterAid report highlights the link between poor sanitation and the transmission of fatal, but preventable illnesses, such as cholera and also examines how these are now compounded by the effects of climate change.

The statement pointed out that climate change is aggravating the sanitation crisis as extreme weather conditions such as floods, rising temperatures, prolonged droughts, are causing irreparable damage to weak sanitation systems and causing illnesses to spread further in vulnerable communities.

“An estimated 250,000 additional deaths per year are predicted between 2030 and 2050 due to climate change and many of these deaths will be linked to poor sanitation.

“Where decent toilets are lacking, human faeces can contaminate the groundwater or end up in rivers and lakes, polluting what is often the only supply of water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. Children play on ground rife with pathogens and as a result of faecal contamination, whole communities can contract diarrhoeal diseases”, the statement stressed.

Country Director of WaterAid Nigeria, Evelyn Mere said her organisation’s new report shows that climate change has intensified the sanitation crisis, with increasingly frequent and extreme weather events, destroying toilets and sanitation systems, putting the health and lives of millions of people around the world at risk.

“The government must respond now to the urgent threat of climate change, and recognise the vital role climate-resilient sanitation plays in helping vulnerable communities be more prepared for climate change; because despite contributing the least to it, it’s the world’s poorest people currently suffering the brunt of its destructive impact”, she added.

According to her, whilst the world has rightly urgently risen to the challenge of COVID-19, every year hundreds of thousands of lives are silently lost because of lack of clean water, decent toilets and hygiene.

“Having these basic human rights in place helps to stop infectious diseases in its tracks and decent sanitation systems are even more vital as the impact of climate changes bites on vulnerable communities”, she further explained.


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