As mankind observed the World Environment Day (WED) on June 5, 2016, one of the nation’s popular polls agency, NOIPolls Limited, has warned that access to clean water will continue to remain a major challenge in Nigeria.
The frightening revelation came on the heels of the recent flag-off of the Ogoni clean-up by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as directed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The agency, in its report released in Abuja on Tuesday, which was a flashback to an earlier one it issued on March 2, 2015, lamented that nothing has changed since its earlier warning over two years ago.
In March 2015, it also recalled, was a follow up to the one conducted in February 2013 to ascertain the sources of and level of access to clean water in Nigeria.
The World Environment Day, with the theme ‘Join the race to make the world a better place’, which was started since 1974 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has a major focus on environmental sustainability.
The agency, in its report, specifically noted that two days to this year’s World Environmental Day, Prof Osinbajo visited Ogoni land to flag-off the ‘Ogoni clean-up’ campaign.
It said: “The clean-up of the heavily polluted Ogoni land was in response to the recommendation given by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) in its report in 2011. The campaign was to ensure that the regulators of oil industry carry out their responsibilities in line with global best practices while avoiding water pollution and destruction of aquatic ecology.
The agency report stressed: “Water is an essential and the most important part of our environment after oxygen. Most diseases and illnesses are as a result of poor sanitation and dirty or polluted waters.
“Access to clean water in Nigeria has remained an important issue when it comes to basic amenities. Over 57 million Nigerians do not have access to clean water in Nigeria while 130 million people don’t have access to adequate sanitation; this is two-thirds of the population. Also around 68,000 children under five years old die every year from diarrhea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation.”
It maintained that results of the poll showed that most Nigerians (29 percent) indicated sachet water, popularly known as ‘pure water’ as their major source of drinking water in their homes.
This was followed by respondents who cited ‘tap water’ (18 percent), ‘private borehole’ (17 percent), ‘public borehole’ (14 percent), and ‘bottled water’ (8 percent) as their main source of drinking water, amongst other sources.
According to the report, analysis by geo-political zone revealed that the North-Central (37 percent) zone accounted for the largest proportion of Nigerians whose source of drinking water is ‘pure water’, the North-East zone (41 percent) for tap water and the South-East zone (33 percent) accounted for the largest proportion of Nigerians who mentioned private boreholes as their source of drinking water.
It maintained that when the 2015 results were compared with findings obtained in 2013, a two-point increase was revealed in the proportion of Nigerians who use ‘pure water’ as their main source of drinking water.
This is as it maintained that there was a decline in the proportion of Nigerians who use private bore holes (8-points) and bottled water (11-points) as well as a corresponding increase in the proportion of Nigerians who use tap water (7-points) and public bore holes (8-points) in accessing drinking water for their homes.
It is of interest to note that the poll also revealed that almost half of the respondents (48 percent) affirmed that access to clean water is a challenge to them and their household with majority of respondents from this group representing the North-East zone (69 percent), while 52 percent of the Nigerians surveyed revealed that access to clean water is not a challenge to them and their household; with a larger share of the respondents from this category representing the South-West zone (66 percent).
Also, trend analysis showed a slight one-point increase in the proportion of respondents who indicated that access to clean water is a challenge to them in 2015 from 2013 (47 percent).
The poll also sought to evaluate sanitation facilities used by Nigerians and findings revealed that toilets connected to private septic tanks were the most used sanitation facilities as reported by the larger proportion (74 percent) of Nigerians, whereas, 22 percent confirmed they use pit latrine at their homes.
According it, two percent indicated their sanitation facility is connected to the public sewage system and this was only obtainable in the North-Central zone.
It stated that more analysis by geo-political zone indicated that the South-East and the South-South zone accounted for the highest number of respondents (93 percent) who indicated their sanitation facility is connected to private septic tanks, while the North-East zone (43 percent) and the North West zone (45 percent) had the largest proportion of Nigerians who indicated the use of pit latrine.
It added: “Trend evaluation showed an 11-point increase in the percentage of respondents who reported they use pit latrines and a 5-points decline in the proportion of Nigerians whose toilets are connected to private septic tanks in 2015 from 2013.”
Concluding, the agency said the poll results revealed that most Nigerians relied on ‘pure water’ (29 percent) as their major source of drinking water in their homes, while others mentioned the use of ‘tap water’ (18 percent) and ‘private borehole’ (17 percent) amongst other means.
“Also, almost half of the respondents (48 per ent) stated that access to clean water was a challenge to them and their household out of which 72 percent of these respondents claimed that this challenge is to a large extent.
“More findings revealed that toilets connected to private septic tanks are the most used sanitation facility as reported by majority (74 percent) of Nigerians. Moreover, a significant proportion of Nigerians (22 percent) use pit latrine in their homes amongst other facilities.”
The report stressed that in reflection on this years’ World Environmental Day, it is pertinent for its data as stated above, be used by the responsible agencies for more proactive approach in ensuring adequate access to clean water and sanitation facilities, while sensitising Nigerians on the importance of proper sanitation and water hygiene in order to minimise hygiene related health issues in the country.
This post originally appeared on Today.NG, and is re-published with permission.