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Lagos State to mitigate waterborne diseases

by Salami Azeez

The Lagos State Government is putting measures in place to mitigate waterborne diseases through effective regulation of Faecal Sludge Management in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 6) which stipulates clean water and sanitation for all.

To this end, the state government, through the Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission (LASWARCO), on Monday organized a One-day Workshop on Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) Toolbox for stakeholders in partnership with FSM Alliance of The Netherlands, held at Radisson Hotel, Ikeja.

Speaking at the workshop, Executive Secretary of LASWARCO, Mrs Funke Adepoju recalled that in August 2022, the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) selected Lagos as one of the three beneficiaries for the implementation of the Sanitation Safety Plan (SSP) in Nigeria, while Ikeja Municipality was selected as a pilot scheme for the development of the SSP to be adopted Statewide.

She said the field inspections conducted in furtherance of the SSP revealed that the sanitation situation in the State was in a dire state and that having validated the SSP, its implementation had become important as mandated by Section 312 (1) (viii) of the Lagos State Environmental Management Protection Law 2017 which empowers LASWARCO to “ensure that the functions of water supply and sewerage services are properly carried out in the State”.

“The essence of managing faecal sludge is amongst others to safeguard the environment and protect water resources of the State and mitigate events on waterborne diseases.

“To this end, it is pertinent to up-skill critical sector players in the State in sustainably managing faecal sludge, hence this training on faecal sludge management.

“This effort is also geared towards effective and efficient management of the value chain in the collection, transportation, treatment and disposal of faecal sludge, with its attendant economic and environmental benefits,” Adepoju said.

She said the workshop was also in line with the THEMES Agenda of the state government, particularly the health and environment pillar, as it had been established by empirical findings that there exists a nexus between effective environmental management and the health of residents.

She added that the capacity-building workshop, which was supported by the Faecal Sludge Management Alliance (FSMA) of The Netherlands, was one of the many benefits of the Lagos International Water Conference 2022 themed: “Unlocking Investments and Sustainable Access to Clean Water and Sanitation.”

On his part, the General Manager of the Lagos State Wastewater Management Office (LSWMO), Engr Adebola Matanmi said the management of wastewater, including faecal sludge, remains a critical issue in Nigeria that any government should not toy with considering the health implications to residents.

A healthy environment, according to him, requires efficient management of wastewater, and if not well managed, there would be degradation of the health of the people and the environment, adding that the workshop was rightly intended to build the capacity of relevant stakeholders in the environmental ecosystem.   

Participants at the workshop were drawn from LASWARCO, LSWMO, Lagos State Chapter of the Association of Professional Engineers of Nigeria, Nigerian Institution of Environmental Engineers and Lagos State Office of Environmental Services, among others.

They were extensively trained in the FSM Toolbox which is a set of implementation tools that can help users determine the best FSM plan in any setting. It includes an assessment tool, a planning tool, and a diagnostics and decisions support tool.

The overall vision of the FSM Alliance is to create a world where all people, everywhere, enjoy equitable access to safely managed and dignified sanitation services, which recognizes and treats human waste as a valued resource, improving health, reducing poverty and safeguarding the environment.  

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