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What’s in news?

The African nation is set to replace India with the largest number of open defecators according to the UN.

Key data’s:

  • As of now, Nigeria is the second country after India with the most child deaths due to diarrhoea from which one in four children under the age of 5 exhibit severe stunting
  • Indian government gears to declare the country open-defecation free (ODF) October 2019 and following this, Nigeria is set to replace India and become the country with the largest number of open defecators. The North Central part of Nigeria is the worst in terms of open defecation as 47mn people are defecating in open.
  • In April 2018, the Nigerian government declared a state of emergency on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), with particular emphasis on sanitation.
  • In February this year, the governments of India and Nigeria coordinated a study, with the support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other development partners, to help the African delegates gain insight from the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), a sanitation programme in India.
  • The national ‘Clean Up Nigeria – Use a Toilet’ campaign was launched by Nigeria Minister of Water Resources Suleiman Hussein Adamu on March, 2019, with the aim to end open defecation by 2025.
  • According to the National Outcome Routine Mapping (NORM) report 2018, Nigeria loses around $1.3 billion per year due to poor sanitation.
  • Another report say, around 155 million Nigerians have no access to functional, private or accessible toilet facilities with proper faecal sludge management.
  • A WaterAid report states that around 1 lakh children under the age of 5 die each year due to diarrhoea — about 90 per cent of this is due to unsafe water and sanitation.
  • This means that the country will face difficulties in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals on sanitation by 2030. 

How open defecation affects the environment?

Open Defecation:

  • Open defecation is the empting of bowels in the open without the use of properly designed structures built for handling of human waste such as toilets. 
  • Open defecation statistics from around the world have shown a statistical relationship between the regions that have the highest percentage of those that do not use toilets or other human waste facilities and low education or poverty.
  • The World Bank Statistics suggest that regions with high rates of open defecation experiences tremendous problem in terms of sanitation and proper waste management.

Reasons for open defecation:

  • Poverty that makes it a challenge to build latrines.
  • Lack of government supportin providing such facilities.
  • Cultural issues related with sharing toilets among family members.

Effects on human health:

  • Water borne diseases like Diarrhoea and other problems associated with the ingesting and exposure to human waste affect children under the age of 5 years the most since they are very susceptible to diseases.
  • Vector borne diseases may affect when collected human waste into heaps, it attracts flies and other insects. 
  • Compounding the problem of disease exposing the cyclic nature of problems that then begin to manifest. The most common diseases caused by this unsanitary act are increased cases of diarrhoea, regular stomach upsets and poor overall health. 
  • Malnutrition in children

Effects on environment:

  • Contamination via microbes
  • Visual and olfactory pollution, when Heaps of human or just the sight of it cause eyesore and nauseate anyone who is close.

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