BENIN CITY – The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has urged young people to join the global effort to improve sanitation and end open defecation by developing innovative solutions to the burden of unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene that threatens the health and wellbeing of almost half of the global population.
The governor, who gave the charge in commemoration of this year’s World Toilet Day, noted that the government is committed to ending open defecation, ensuring access to adequate, affordable and sustainable sanitation facilities across the state.
According to him, “This year’s World Toilet Day is yet another opportunity to find a sustainable solution to the burden of unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene that threatens the health of about 3.6 billion people or almost half of the global population, according to the United Nations.
“It is also a clarion call to young people across the world to join the global effort in seeking a lasting solution to this challenge by exploring smart technologies to address the hydra-headed problem in their various communities.”
Reassuring the government’s commitment to ending open defecation across all communities in Edo State, Obaseki noted, “For us as a government, we are of the belief that everyone should have access to hygienic, safe and sustainable sanitation; a strategy we have adopted to significantly reduce the spread of and deaths from infectious diseases such as cholera.
“With sustained programmes to drive good hygiene and sustainable sanitation, as well as raise awareness of its importance, we have enacted policies towards ensuring that all Edo citizens, irrespective of location, have access to adequate potable water supply and sanitation facilities.
“We have launched the ‘Clean Nigeria – Use the Toilet Campaign,’ which mandates landlords in the state to provide latrines in their homes, business premises and commercial apartments.”
“The state government has put in place a machinery to eradicate open defecation in urban, semi-urban and rural areas, through the establishment of a Small-Town Rural Water Supply Sanitation Agency, (STRUWASSA) at the state level, and are confident to end open defecation across the state’s 18 local government areas by 2025,” the governor stated.
According to United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, “We need urgent and massive investment and innovation along the entire ‘sanitation chain’, from toilets to the transport, collection and treatment of human waste.
“For every $1 invested in toilets and sanitation, up to $5 is returned in saved medical costs, better health, increased productivity, education and jobs.”