ENVIRONMENTAL SANITATION: the best recipe for a healthy Community
By Abdulhamid Ibrahim Saikpai
The various forms of interaction among people, between people and other living organisms; and between people, their structural habitats and the entirety of living organisms—plants and animals summatively forms our environment. This diversity naturally creates competition within species, between species and other non-living factors in the environment. For this reason, humans, as the dominant species in the environment have adopted some norms and strategies from time immemorial for environmental sustenance. So, only the products of these norms and values survive with a good health in the environment. Environmental sanitation is for sure, the fulcrum to a healthy life.
HEALTH IS WEALTH
The well-being of an individual is the state at which one is physically and mentally healthy. So goes the saying that a healthy man is a wealthy man. I so much believed the aforementioned statement, having seen several practical examples of individuals in our communities who are wealthy because of their good health. The pre-requisite however, of a sound health is sanitation.
Sanitation encompasses the equipments used in removing human wastes and the entire system of keeping places clean. It entails the removal of solid waste—refuse and liquid waste—sewage from our immediate environment to a place where it would be treated to achieve a holistic clean environment. Sanitation in essence, the toilet- is an incredibly effective means of lessening the devastating impact of many faecally-transmitted diseases. Sanitation systems vary considerably, from simple pit latrines, to septic systems, through to large-scale reticulated sewage systems servicing many households. Any of the above mentioned, is recommended to achieve a healthy environment. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that it reduces diarrhoeal morbidity by 38% as at last year. My community, Ilesha-Baruba (western Borgu) is WHO compliant on environmental sanitation through the intervention of the Professorial Emirate council pioneered by His Royal Majesty, Prof. Halidu Abubakar, the emir of Ilesha-Baruba, Kwara State. The environmental cleanliness observed and attained in this community was achieved by the support and active participation of the vibrant traditional title holders of the land.
WASTE TO WEALTH
There is also an oft-forgotten secondary benefit arising from sanitation. This can be achieved simply through providing an organized collection and distribution system of this nutrient-laden “waste” which can be seen as resource rather than a problematic substance to be disposed of. There are various potential uses for faecal sludge and wastewater. But unquestionably the greatest potential and the largest current uses are in crop productivity improvement. Human waste plays a vital role in providing food and sustaining livelihoods throughout the developing world. And it is becoming increasingly important in developed nations as well, particularly some water stressed countries.
Faecal sludge can rejuvenate impoverished soils. Wastewater, while carrying some free fertilizer, is primarily just another irrigation source, and often the only option for the millions of poor urban and peri-urban farmers in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa. In essence, faecal sludge could be used to replace NPK fertilizers as many people have reawakened their interests to farming of cereals, soybeans and other important crops around us.
Away from the benefits of waste to wealth, courtesy demands we give honour to sanitation workers without whom we can’t boast of a hygienic environment. Sadly, many around our communities and Nigeria generally, see “cleaners” as they are fondly called, as people who don’t have any other option of a different job since majority tagged it as a “dirty job” which in the real sense, it’s not dirty. However, a few of those observed closely around where I live here and elsewhere, have always expressed happiness doing the job. In those occasions, I often return a radiant smile at them to show my appreciation and this, particularly, led me to always do my part as not to mess up any clean environment.
Interestingly, moving with the global trend, our enlightened minds have demonstrated cleanliness and the beauty is unarguably seen in my hometown—Ilesha-Baruba, Baruten LGA and most parts of the Borgu Empire. A visit will convince you.
Gladly, to show his appreciation and demonstration of philanthropy, the ever conscious Emir has recently donated some incentives including cash to selected active environmental ambassadors of our community as motivation. This gesture I must confess is tiptoed towards encouraging a clean and green environment while it’s also addressing the youths as the building bricks of the structure to emulate and seize the good virtues for continued environmental cleanliness.
– Culled from Facebook @Hamid Sabikpai