The Lagos State Government today joined the rest of the world to mark the World Toilet Day by emphasizing the need to promote healthy sanitation practices among Lagosians.
Speaking during at an event to mark the 2017 World Toilet Day at Ojodu-Berger Bus Terminus, the Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Samuel Babatunde Adejare, maintained that the celebration brings to the fore issues such as water, sanitation and hygiene.
According to him, proper handling of these critical issues would help reduce government expenditure on treatment of diseases and make more money available for other important public uses.
While emphasising the need for proper sanitation habit, Adejare said that by United Nations estimate, 2.5 percent of the world’s seven billion people, mostly in rural areas, do not have proper sanitation while 1.1 billion people still defecate in the open.
“This has significant impacts on human health, dignity and security as well as the environment, social and economic development. The countries where open defecation is most widely practised are the same countries with the highest mortality rate of children under five, high levels of undernutrition and poverty as well as large wealth disparities,” he said.
The Commissioner stated that sanitation and toilet issues required urgent actions to stem the tide of diseases and bring about a healthy citizenry.
“This staggering statistics no doubt calls for urgent action among all stakeholders to prioritise toilet and sanitation issues, enhance access to water and sanitation facilities and as well spread awareness of the ills of undesirable sanitation practices.”
Adejare said that the present administration was making determined efforts to eradicate the menace of open defecation and urination through the provision of public toilets and upgrading of already existing facilities across the State.
“All public institutions in the State such as petrol filling stations, eateries and shopping malls are mandated to maintain clean toilets and give access to members of the public. We have also ensured that non-compliance attracts appropriate sanctions,” he said.
He said that Lagos State Government’s commitment to attaining the smart-city status could not be sacrificed at the altar of poor sanitation and inefficient solid waste management, stressing that the environment remained the State’s priority as it was important for maintaining a secure and more prosperous State.
He enjoined Lagosians to join the State crusade of attaining a cleaner, healthier, functional and sustainable environment, capable of promoting economic growth and well-being of the entire citizenry.