Posts tagged ‘lagos’

November 2, 2012

Unsafe water, root cause of most diseases- Medical Doctor

 

By Dayo Emmanuel

Dayo Emmanuel recently visited two blighted peri urban  communities along the boundaries of Lagos and Ogun states in South West, and discovered the near absence of conventional  safe water supplies.  Residents are forced to rely on unimproved sources of water supplies, which a Medical Doctor attributes to be the cause of several diseases in the several communities in Nigeria

“Water has no enemy”, sang the late Afro Beat King, Fela AnikulapoKuti in one of his ever green titles, but with the residents of  Ajuwom-Akute  drinking water may have since chosen its friends and enemies.

Ajuwon-Akute is populated by low income earners, artisans, commercial cyclists, drivers and people who have found cheaper landed properties and accommodation away from neighbouring “highbrow” Lagos.  Quite a lot of these houses are bungalows and in some cases one or two storey buildings some of which are practically begging for renovation.

With a population of about 150,000 people, Ajuwon-Akute communities located in Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State are no doubt over ripe for total development.

The two communities bordering Lagos State share cultural identities with the people of Iju-Agege axis of Nigeria’s former capital city.

Despite their proximity to Lagos, the twin communities are still far behind in terms of infrastructure.  Such amenities like good road network, public libraries, housing scheme, regular power supply and pipe borne water are still largely absent in the communities which have continued to grow due to their proximity to the nation’s commercial nerve centre.  As a matter of fact, more than 40% of the residents in these communities have daily contact with Lagos where they earn their living.

The two communities no doubt qualify for rural areas based on the type of houses and lack of basic infrastructure.  Major parts of the only tarred road connecting the communities initially fixed by the Lagos State government have already failed while there are no other tarred roads within the area.

“There is a little government presence in this locality as you can see, the local health centre, the post office and this Local Government Area office are only what we can point to for now. There is also a branch of a commercial bank (Zenith Bank) over there”, said Mr. Adewale, an officer at the Local Government Area Office who decried the poor state of the road linking the communities to Lagos State.

“This road is used mainly by Lagos people and we want them to fix it, because they caused the major damage”, Adewale complained, adding that “you will not notice that there is a gas pipeline which convey gas to Lagos State under this failing road, there are water pipes also from the Iju Water Works few kilometres away but we in this community do not benefit from both the gas or water, the water pipes are dry and are of no benefit to us despite the fact that the mega water works is located at our backyard.  We are so close to the water works but it supplies water largely to Lagos area”.

Pipe borne water is absent while the population survives on wells, though some privileged few could afford sinking boreholes. Power supply is grossly inadequate which makes the cost of running the boreholes a bit on the high side.

Power supply here can be described as erratic because sometimes the lights may be off for four days in a row while the remaining three days are not certain.  Some other times, we may have the supply again for two or three days with interruptions in- between, we can’t plan with it”, said Femi Adesanya, a resident of Ajuwon. “Erratic power supply is one of the pains of a densely populated rural area.

In Akute, we have about three hours of power supply between midnight and 4 AM”, said James Dureke, a landlord in Akute who added that “I have a borehole in my house for my residence from which I supply my neighbours water for free, there are two other bore hole operators who sell water in the area, but I don’t sell because most people here are not as buoyant.

When asked how clean the water from his bore hole is, Dureke said “though it is clean, I don’t drink it, I buy water for drinking but the neighbours drink it”.

Dureke, a business man who recently moved into the area narrated how he spends about N250 on drinking water on a daily basis which translates to about N7,500 monthly.

Despite the challenges in these communities, the area is dotted with various private schools providing education for the growing student population in the neighbourhood.  However, many parents in the area often find it more expensive and time consuming conveying their wards to schools in Lagos. Doland International Secondary School is perhaps one of the largest schools in Akute. The school, perhaps due to its size could afford a borehole which supplies water for the staff and students.

Water is not only a challenge for residents of Ajuwon-Akute as the various schools operating in the communities also spend extra to provide water for their pupils. A student of Fortuneland school who simply identified herself as Morayo said “we have borehole in my school which we use for our sanitation but most of the students buy sachet water during break to drink.” A sachet of water containing 50cl of pure water costs N10 and an average student may consume two or more before the school closes by 4pm.

Some local schools are not so fortunate to have the luxury of a borehole; most local schools can only afford wells which supply water for sanitation purpose.

Dr. Alori Dare a volunteer on a rural medical mission in some villages in Ogun State confirms that lack of clean water supply is the cause of many water borne disease in rural areas in Ogun State. “With my experience in Igbesa, I found that lack of pipe borne water is the root cause of a lot of ailments”, he however enjoined local residents to ensure they take clean water to avoid water borne diseases.

Alori who is the Medical Director of Hope Alive Clinic, Abesan Estate, Ipaja, Lagos added that “the goal of my trip to rural areas and Igbesa particularly is to see to the medical needs of rural people who ordinarily could not afford medical services, my trip has also motivated some of the youths who now aspire to study hard to become medical doctors in future”.  He however tasked the government on provision of clean water for rural people if the nation must stem the increase of waterborne disease.

“waterborne diseases are caused by microorganisms like bacterial, protozoan, nematode etc. which are intestinal parasites commonly transmitted via contaminated fresh water”, said Dr. Bayo, a Lagos based medical doctor who expatiated further that “intake of contaminated water eventually results to diarrhea, cholera, typhoid and  hepatitis A”.

He however enlightened on the precautions of these waterborne diseases.  “These diseases are preventable by washing of hands and intake of clean water sanitation should not be compromised at any time as I have treated so many of these water borne diseases at various times in my career”, Dr. Bayo said, urging people in rural communities and areas inhabited by poor people to protect themselves by observing personal hygiene and taking heed about the food they eat in order to prevent water borne diseases.

 

 

The story is published under the pro poor WASH stories project implemented by the Water and Sanitation Media Network Nigeria, with the support of West Africa WASH Media Network, WaterAid, and Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council.

October 29, 2012

We are dying of water borne diseases : residents of Ikola-Ilumo and Iju communities cry out

Dayo Emmanuel recently visited Ikola-Ilumo and Iju aga,  two communities in peri urban area of Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria; and brought tales of woes from residents over high cost of water supply coupled with lack of access to safe supplies

By  Dayo Emmanuel

Ikola-ilumo community

Ikola-ilumo community in Agbado /Oke Odo Local Council Development Area of Lagos State is among the rural communities springing up in the suburb of Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre.

Inhabited mainly by low income people and artisans, residents in the community however face the obvious challenges experienced by new and growing communities in the country. Plastered bungalows and other uncompleted buildings are prominent in the community which is home to people who have found cheaper accommodation in the peri urban settlement.

A cholera victim in Nigeria

With the recent establishment of a Local Government Primary School and a borehole facility, there seems to be a little signal of government’s presence.  Though without a single tarred road, a public clinic, the community can only ask for more. The erratic power supply makes it difficult for the few residents who operate personal boreholes to pump water regularly.

A community leader and one of the executives of the Community Development Association, Elder Emmanuel Okoko confirmed the erratic power supply in the neighbourhood. “We have power supply here just about three days in a week.  It is now worse than what we used to have perhaps due to more people moving in”, he said.

Okoko who retired from Lufthansa, German airlines after about 40 years of service settled in Ikola-Ilumo around 1999. “When I came here, people queried me why I decided to settle in the bush, today, this place is opening up, at lease the population is about 250,000.  The government should come to the aid of the teeming population”, he urged.

Cost of assessing water supply in the community is a source of concern to the growing population.  Mrs. Joan Emmanuel is a School Proprietress in Ikola-Ilumo laments the difficulties in assessing clean water which is causing sanitation problems for the teeming population.

“I am the Proprietress of Bright Horizon Schools in Peace Estate, Ilola-Ilumo and interacting with the parents here I found that water supply and sanitation is a major challenge”, said Emmanuel who noted that most people in the neighbourhood are low income earners and artisans whose take home remuneration cannot sustain rent in developed settlements outside the area.  She however identified poverty as a major problem of the people causing them to compromise clean water which is as important as life itself.

Most residents in the community are low income people earners who cannot afford to sink bore holes within their premises and have to rely on the community borehole and streams.  “For instance in my family of five, we spend N350 on a drum of water every day which amounts to about N10,000 a month, most people in the neighbourhood cannot afford that and this explains why people go for alternatives which are not too safe. If you come here early in the morning you will see people searching for water in nearby wells which is not safe enough for drinking”, said Emmanuel continuing that “with family income of about N800, 000 annually, spending N350 per day on water translates to about 15% of our income, I insist that most people in the community are not that comfortable”.

“There is a borehole provided by the Local Government somewhere in the community which provides water for houses close to it.  It is a good initiative but one borehole is just not enough to serve the large population because like I said, we are about 250,000 people here”, he noted.

However, many school children in the community also do not have access to adequate water supply.  Oluwatosin Moore a pupil of Skylight Secondary School:

We do not have borehole, but we have a well from which we fetch water needed for our sanitation.  As a female student, water is essential and the well water is what we have access to in the absence of pipe borne water from the government”, she said, adding that “we buy sachet water during break for drinking or we bring water from home because the well water is not safe for drinking”.

Ihuoma Okoko, a Chemist in the community also confirms the difficulty involved in getting clean water in the area said: “Like you can see, this community is neglected and water is difficult to get.  Those who compromise clean water must spend more in buying drugs, so I feel it is easier to spend more on water than to spend the money on drugs with associated pains”, adding that “the cost of water here in Ikola-Ilumo is more than what obtains in neighbouring Ipaja or Gowon Estate where there are tarred roads good enough for water tankers and sachet water trucks, the government should please come to our aid in this community to ensure safe water because apart from the cost of good water, our health is also at stake”.

Medical Director of God’s Goal Medical Centre, Ojo-Alaba, Lagos, and Dr. Gabriel Omonaiye said access to clean water and sanitation can prevent a lot of diseases and can actually safe lives. According to Omonaiye who has treated a lot of ailments which are fallouts of lack of access to clean water among the poor, “lack of access to good water supply is the root cause of a lot of health problems faced in rural settlements and communities largely inhabited by poor people. Such community’s record high rate of cholera, diarrhea etc. and as simple as those diseases may sound; they sometimes cost not only lots of money but precious lives”

The Medical Director who coordinates medical missions in rural communities where access to safe drinking water is a challenge, continued “I have handled several health cases which are direct products of lack of access to clean water, we have had to administer between 30 to 40 drips in treating someone who contracted water borne disease due to lack of access to clean water and the cost implication can only be imagined”.

Though the cost of treating water related ailments varies from place to place, Omonaiye urged rural dwellers to ensure good hygiene and safe water intake.  He also laments the absence of pipe borne water in rural communities and even areas inhabited by the so called middle class people.

Sharing his experiences, the Medical Doctor said “there are lots of avoidable illnesses suffered by people in the rural areas just because of lack of access to clean sources of water. For instance during our trip to Olomometa beach, an off shore community near Badagry, Lagos, we found the prevalence of  ailments  Such as  Cholera, diarrhea, cold, and catarrh simply due lack of clean water and cold winds from the sea.

 

Iju-Aga Community

Iju-Aga a  semi urban community located between Lagos and Ogun States on the outskirts of Lagos is perhaps the closest settlement to the popular Iju Water works, which is the biggest water plant in Lagos State.

Ironically, most homes in the community do not take their daily water supply from the plant.

Alhaji Tijani  a community leader and prominent Landlord in the area who has said. “When I built my house here in the 1980s, I bought 11 long pipes to connect water from the main road. Then the pressure of the water was much and it was regular”.  But oday most homes in the community hosting the water works do not take water from the plant and this should not be so.

Some years ago, I cut off the water works and sank my own bore hole“due to lack of maintenance, the pipes over the years got rusted internally and the water passing through them comes out coloured and contaminated, making it unsafe for drinking and domestic

The story is however different in many homes who are not so buoyant to sink private bore holes.  Tomi Olaoluwa is a resident who grew up in the neighbourhood.  Speaking about water supply in the area, Tomi said “early in the morning residents mostly women and children would go out to seek for water from commercial bore holes where they pay before fetching”.

This area may seem to be close to the water works serving major parts of highbrow Lagos area but we are not even familiar with their service as commercial water vendors have found a lucrative business”, she said, pointing to two water selling points in the area.

However, water vendors in the neighbourhood  supply water to homes :“Each jerry cancosts N20”, said Hamza, one of the water vendors in the neighbourhood.

Iju water plant was built in 1901 to produce a capacity of 11,000 m3/d for colonial quarters in Ikoyi/Obalende areas through a normal 28’’ diameter (700mm) iron trunk “A” water pipe. Meanwhile, as the needs increased, another expansion was made in 1943 when the capacity of the water plant was raised to 27,000m3/d as accompanied by the laying of another cast iron trunk “B” pipe of 24’’ (600mm).

Charity, they say begins from home, many have continued to wonder why the community hosting the mega water corporation has not been a direct beneficiary of the service it renders to other far away communities in Lagos.

 

The story is published under the pro poor WASH stories project implemented by the Water and Sanitation Media Network Nigeria, with the support of West Africa WASH Media Network, WaterAid, and Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council.

May 10, 2011

Effects of climate change on water supply in Lagos


By

Babatope Babalobi

Babalobi@yahoo.com

 

With a geographical size of 3,577 square kilometres, Lagos State is one of the smallest states in Nigeria, representing 0.4% of the entire geographical area Nigeria. Lagos State is located on the South-Western part of Nigeria on the narrow Coastal flood plain of the Bight of Benin.

Lagos State has an area of 356,861hectares, out of which 75,755 hectares are wetlands with the dominant vegetation of tropical swamp forest, comprising fresh waters and mangrove swamp forests. It shares a double rainfall pattern, with two climatic seasons – Dry (November-March) and wet (April-October). The drainage system of the State is characterized by a maze of Lagoons and waterways which constitute about 22% or 787 sq. km of the State total landmass.

The state has the highest population in the country, with over five percent 5% of the national estimate. The 1991 National Census figures put the population of the State at 5,725,116, out of a national estimate of 88,992,220. The UN Habitat Study and the UNDP assisted state Regional Master Plan estimated Lagos State population in year 2000 at 13.4million and over 15 million inhabitants in 2004.

The recent UN study (1999) expected the City of Lagos to hit the 20million population flux in Year 2010, thus progressively reaching 24.5million population in year 2015, at which time Lagos will be the third most populous city in the world. Thus Lagos population is growing ten times faster than New York and Los Angeles, with grave implication for urban sustainability.

The major water bodies in the state are the Lagos and Lekki Lagoons, Yewa and Ogun Rivers. The raw water supply is obtained by the Lagos Water Corporation (LWC) mainly from two rivers, the Iju and the Owo (170,000 and 265,000 m3 per day respectively).

The location of the state within the coastline implies that it is vulnerable to climate change, while its high urban population implies that  provision of potable drinking water by the state’s water utility- the Lagos Water Corporation will be a major challenge.

The Lagos Water Corporation is in charge of supplying drinking water services to all parts of urban and semi urban areas of the state. However, the size and growth rate of Lagos means that needs are growing very rapidly.

The LWC currently has an installed water supply capacity of 160 million gallons per day (MGD) (712.9 million litres per day (MLD)), but ageing supply lines, water works and poor public electricity hamper the services of the corporation, hence it is operating at only 48% capacity, or only 36% of water demand. It supplies water to about 60% of the population. Only about 4million of the state’s 15million population have access to piped water.

The general shortage of water supply that is a result of this low capacity utilisation is then met by privately operated tankers, porters and privately owned boreholes and wells. This in turn has its own issues with regards to water purity standards, higher delivery costs and the ultimate impact on the state’s water levels from the improper tapping of ground water reserves and wastage in its collection and delivery.

The LWC believes that between 2000 and 2025 demand for potable water will grow from 200 to 1,200 million gallons per day (MGD), capital investment of US$100 million per annum will be required in order to reach 80% coverage.

Water is involved in all components of the climate system (atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, land surface and biosphere). Therefore, climate change affects water through a number of mechanisms. Water supply services are highly vulnerable to drought, extreme precipitation, and sea level rise.

Nigeria is likely to experience an increase in global warming from 1.4 °C  to 5.8°C over the period 1990 to 2100. This national increase in atmospheric temperature and an increase in surface water temperature  may also cause a decreased flows in Ogun/Osun River Basins caused by longer and more frequent dry seasons; and a reduction in dissolved oxygen content, mixing patterns, and self purification capacity and increase in algal blooms respectively Ogun/Osun River Basins. The Lagos Water Corporation sources it’s raw from these basins.

The changing climate is likely to exacerbate water management problems in Lagos generally through rising sea levels in the costliness, variable rainfall and extreme events like floods. Increase in inter annual Precipitation variability will evidently increase the difficulty of flood control and reservoir utilization during the flooding season.

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