Most businesses are beginning to think not just about profit, but also about the environment and sustainability.
Swedish fashion retail companies Indiska, KappAhl and Lindex have announced that they are expanding their cooperation with the Stockholm International Water institute (SIWI) during 2014 to improve sustainable water management practices at their supplying production houses in India.
With the world’s population and economies growing fast while the amount of available water remains the same, collaboration over our most essential resource is more urgent than ever. The irony is that a lot of people, and lots of those around me do not believe this, therefore do not care about this piece of information. As a matter of fact, some have told me categorically that I am over rating the issues, and questioning if God who kept the water many ears before I was born did not plan for the future generation. My final statement usually is that saving will not cost us our left eye, so just save just incase science is right. Water management is the reason World Water Week holds yearly.
Jennifer Uloma Igwe is a passionate and award winning environmental journalist. She is a senior and principal reporter, news anchor, producer and programmes presenter with the Nigerian Television Authority-NTA, a two time fellow of the climate change media partnership-CCMP, has a Kaiser Family Foundation Media Fellowship in Health and an Alumni of the School of Media and Communication,Pan African University, among others. She writes on open defecation in Nigeria and India.
A little boy of about six years old stormed out of a ramshackle structure in Holumbi Kalan Phase two, New Delhi, to answer a inevitable call. The urgency with which he ran was a reflection of how powerful the call by nature can be. Under normal condition this child ought to have done this important life function in the privacy and comfort of a toilet, probably supervised by an adult. Openly and rather oblivious of the many activities happening around him he publicly defecated.This scenario is rather the norm in India,especially among slum settlements like Holumbi Kalan 2.
Nearly 60 per cent of those practising open defecation worldwide,according to a report by UNICEF, live in India. Only 31 % of households have access to sanitation,While about 626 million people ( five times the size of Nigeria and about twice the size of the US) still defecate in the open. The situation is quite a challenge because in spite of 20 million toilets being constructed every year by the government,demand for their use is minimal. Experts say its lack of availability in some areas and a complex case of behavior, habit and attitude in others. This is because most people especially those in the rural areas and slums would prefer to openly defecate rather than use a toilet.Largely built toilets by the government on the other hand attracts some fees. In Holumbi Kalan 2 for instance one rupee is charged for urinating while stooling cost two rupees.
Dr. Anita Harish, is a medical doctor with the Child Survival India(CSI), a non profit initiative that provides free healthcare through mobile clinics in slums like Holumbi khurd, Holumbi Kalan phase 2 and some other states. According to her “due to bad sanitary condition in these communities we get a lot of diarrhea in children even in elderly. Many of the patients have skin problems as a result of poor hygiene. 70% of the patients we treated initially had ailments related to them. Today although there is remarkable improvement,we still have many of such cases”. The mobile clinic attends to about 120- 140 patients daily.
Dr. Beeps Bajaj, the chief executive of CSI ,noted that lack of and use of toilets in addition to limited access to portable water supply and poor hygiene are contributory factors responsible for many sicknesses in the areas they cover. Dr Bajaj said “previously before we came there were lots of deaths from diarrhea, cholera and malaria including air and vector borne diseases”. Management of these health challenge she says is also crucial for maternal care and child survival. According to her many of the women they treat say they opt for open defecation because if for instance they or their children or other members of their households need to stool more than once a day,that would mean additional expenses. Each visit to the rest room would be definitely be accompanied by rupees from the sick pockets of many of the families.The case is even worse if any of them has diarrhea,rather inevitably doing their thing any where in the open becomes a welcome option.
NIGERIA,AS IT IS THE CASE IN INDIA……..
The Indian case is not too far from the ” short put”system in some slums and rural communities in Nigeria. Named after the popular age long sports, short put,this type of open defecation is done in polythene bags or papers and flung into the nearest bush, waste dump or drainage. In some worst case scenarios,it could become an unwanted parcel and sight at your gate or road side.
Kayode,a resident of Pedro Village, a shanty slum Makoko,under the Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State (a community which has been declared illegal by the state government) says the “short put” system is for them a necessary evil. Toilets he says are luxuries many cannot afford and for a community with thousands of households this important facility he says is virtually non existent ” I don’t know any house that get toilet for this place o” He lamented in broken English. “Na inside water we dey shit and water go carry am go. You fit shit for nylon throw way am for where dem dey throw dirty”. According to him they would prefer to use toilet facilities but have no access to them.
The Lagos State commissioner for Environment,Tunji Bello,says the state has so far provided over a hundred public toilets. He noted “we discovered that its not about building toilets,but changing the bad habits people have of defecating openly. We are already creating awareness on this and encouraging the private sectors to invest in public toilets, as government can not do this alone”. And although many Lagosians agree that the ten, twenty,fifty to hundred naira charged for use of public lavatories are very minimal tokens, some in very low income areas beg to disagree.
A report by UNICEF and World Health Organization in 2012,shows that more than 1.1 billion people in the world practice open defecation. The largest number of these people are in India (626 million), followed by Indonesia (63 million), Pakistan (40 million), Ethiopia (38 million), and Nigeria (34million).
Lack of sanitation and hygiene,according to medical experts in Nigeria,are the major causes of some contagious disease, including diarrhoea, cholera and typhoid.
By Tina Armstrong
As a way of making education easier for residents of the coastal part of Makoko in Lagos Mainland, the United Nations Development Programme UNDP has commenced the construction of special coastline educational facilities known as “floating schools”. The school’s first prototype which was unveiled recently is a two-storey building standing on silt and is being powered by solar energy. At the opening of the prototype, the Country Director of UNDP in Nigeria, Miss Ade Mamonyane Lekoetje said UNDP was committed to improving the standard of living of people and expressed optimism that the school would change the face of Makoko. According to her, the children in the Makoko waterfront community deserves quality education in a conducive environment and the floating school project will serve that purpose. She added that through the support of the Lagos State government, the school would attract tourists to see the wonder school floating on the Lagos lagoon.
The Project Designer of the Makoko Floating School, Mr. Kunle Adeyemi, said the school is a sustainable project that would not be affected by the impact of climate change like sea level rise. This is because the water level at any given time does not affect the school but the school floats without been disturbed. The waste generated in the school would be recycled. Mr Adeyemi called for support in construction of more floating schools in other coastal communities across the country because it would help to improve the lives of the people in such areas. One of the community leaders in the Makoko waterfront community, Chief Francais Agoyon thanked the UNDP for constructing a school that suits their environment and the needs of his people. Chief Agoyon stressed that the Makoko people would make good use of the school and called for more of such developmental projects that meet the demand of the people. He believed that with such projects in Makoko, the area would attract tourists from far and wide, that would enjoy the hospitality of the Makoko people.
The Programme Officer of the United Nations Habitat, Mr Paul Okunlola pointed out that the floating school is a welcome initiative by the UNDP because children in Makoko will not be disadvantaged from accessing quality education because of their environment. Mr. Okunlola stressed that the UN-Habitat is committed to achieving Goal 7 target 11 of the United Nations Millennium Development Goal, MDG that is in line with upgrading slums across the world. “Though more slums are coming up across the globe but it is a running battle and we are determined to win the war”, he added.
By Emmauel Obianke
Emmanuel Obianke is a student of chemical engineering, interested in climate change issues.
I boarded a bus from Benin south-south Nigeria heading to Auchi. my bus was an 18seater Toyota hilux bus popularly known as hummer bus, one that could be regarded as the best. Midway into our journey around Ewu, after the University town of Ekpoma along the Benin-Abuja express way, we approached a hill. Ascending uphill before us was a truck loaded with timber product heading to Northern Nigeria. the truck posed a very big challenge to us as the truck was emitting from its exhaust pipe very thick, black and poisonous gas, one capable of causing blindness or severe choking, the smoke was so bad that visibility was a problem. There was a long queue of vehicles behind us and it was slowly developing into a traffic jam. By chance we were able to overtake the truck just after the hill.
This encounter birthed a topic of discussion among the passenger, who began wondering why some vehicles would produce so much smoke thick enough to cause problems while other vehicles, like the bus we were travelling in produces little or no visible smoke. The driver then engage us in a 30min lecture, citing the reason as his wise investment in a converter.
A CATALYTIC CONVERTER is a little valve usually built in the exhaust of vehicles. It’s a vehicle’s emissions control device which converts toxic by-products of combustion engines to a less toxic substance by way of catalysed chemical reaction. The specific reaction which takes place in the converter are dependent on the catalyst .The beauty of this device is that it’s usually fitted with a three way converter that specifically filters the 3 major pollutants usually found in our petrol(fuel); Carbon monoxide, oxide of nitrogen and hydrogen. From its first use in the USA in 1975, catalytic converters had spread worldwide as an environmental protection/control device and also as one of the latest advancement of technology. It is now being used in exhaust system of other combustible engines like generators, trucks, buses, locomotives, trains, motorcycles, airplanes, grinding machines and others. it has also been adopted in environmental protection laws of some countries like the USA, Japan and Korea. In Africa and Nigeria particular, there is no law to check vehicles without converters. This could be because cars are not manufactured in Africa. The country can only assemble parts o make cars. Until such laws are passed, we would keep living in a world so polluted. When next you board a car or use a car, check how much emission is going on. Want to know how good your catalytic converter is working? Stay on this page.
MAKE THE CLIMATE YOUR FRIEND and do good things to this your ‘FRIEND’.
On Wednesday March 13, 2013, Bailiff Africa will host the first of weekly Twitter conversations focusing on environmental issues in Africa. The maiden edition is titled: Dustbin Nation – The Nuisance of Waste in Nigeria. This debut edition will discuss the menace of indiscriminate waste disposal in Nigeria and the impact on the environment as well as the impact on people. Each session will hold from 6:00pm – 7:30pm (NGR time), during which several organizations and people on Twitter will participate using the hash tag #BailiffIssues.
Questions will be taken from participants who will be engaged in discussion with facts, figures, opinions and suggestions, all with the goal of enlightening one another on the reality of environmental devastation in specific African contexts. Every tweet, re-tweet and counter-tweet is a step closer to achieving our goal of sensitizing the African youth population on environmental issues and initiatives in order to mobilize change from this corner of the community.The Weekly ‘Bailiff Issues’ sessions are fun, relaxed and informative. Every voice counts in saving the world, especially yours.
How to Participate:
- Follow @BailiffAfrica on Twitter
- From 6:00pm to 7:30pm (NGR time) , tweet questions or responses to statements and questions with the hash tag #BailiffIssues. You’ll be able to participate in the conversation by following the thread #BailiffIssues on Twitter.
- The more the merrier and the greater the opportunity to learn something new on your favorite (or worst) environmental issue. Share the flier on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other social media platforms. Tell a friend who will tell another friend.
We look forward to tweeting with you on March 13!
I clearly remember the day Hamzy suggested we visit Zamfara. I was excited about going, but suddenly had a bit of cold feet, because of the crises rocking some parts of Northern Nigeria. I was also preparing for motherhood and did not want to expose myself to more toxins. I had the option of staying off the toxins, but many Bagega women can not make same choice as I did, leading to children exposed to lead poisoning and most born with deformities.
Few days later, Hamzy came back with heartbreaking stories of children whose’ lives are in grave danger, parents who live in constant fear, and possibly counting down to the death of another loved child while also holding strong to faith for a miracle. That miracle came with the release of desperately needed funds for medical care. I just had to make this first interview of my very close friend, to show how proud I am of him and to say Happy Birthday to Hamzat Lawal.
Here is how Hamzat did it.