One of the basic infrastructures lacking in many communities, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is good drainage system, which has resulted in poor environmental sanitation, with the risk of residents contracting diseases, CECILIA OGEZI writes.
According to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), 363 people were feared dead, while 2.1 million citizens were displaced across Nigeria as a result of floods in 2012. Also, 30 out of the 36 states in Nigeria were affected by the recent flood experienced in parts of the country
It is a fact that poorly maintained drainage systems and poor waste management habits could be attributed to the menace flood disasters, with its adverse effect on our environment. The immediate effects of flooding include loss of human life, damage to property, destruction of crops and other plants, loss of livestock. Flood also causes health deterioration, due to the increase in waterborne diseases and unsanitary conditions.
This however is the plight of many residents of the FCT, especially in many remote villages where there are no existing drainage systems, while the very few with drainage systems, which are poorly constructed are poorly managed, leading to sanitary conditions dangerous to health.
The need for proper drainage systems cannot be over emphasized as they are constructed to ensure that waste water and sewage are transported neatly to disposal points, thereby keeping the environment well drained and free of waste. There are hardly any of components that make up a good drainage system in the existing drainage system in these communities.
A resident of Damagaza village in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Curtis Gondu, who spoke with LEADERSHIP, described the situation as risky, as everyone takes in all that is in the environment. Gondu noted that sanitation was a major problem in the community, as there are parts of the community that don’t have drainage system.
“From the present condition we cannot say we have a well constructed drainage system. There are only two streets in this village that have drainage system, so imagine the how the areas will be littered with filth that are harmful to the health in these areas that do not have drainage systems. The population of the people in the community is high and the higher the number the more health risk involved,” he said.
Another resident, Alhaji Abdulsalam Jibrin explained that areas with drainage system enjoy the better environmental conditions because the immediate past chairman of AMAC, Hon. Micah Jiba ensured that it was constructed. Jibrin added that there were areas where this did not reach and those areas are the ones that suffer more from poor sanitation and are usually mostly affected in the case of outbreak of any epidemic disease.
Also, a resident of Dakwo community in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Mrs. Lisa Sunday, complained that there was no drainage system in the whole community which often times leaves the communities in a very poor sanitation.
“Without drainage system the environment is lefts with many health hazards and with children playing every where without caution, they come in contact with several things in their environment that can cause diseases. I think the residents have a role to play, but government must construct these drainage systems to reduce risk of outbreak of any disease,” she said.
There are also many residents who share same views of the need to bring this challenges most of these communities are faced to the government. For instance, the Sustainable Drainage Systems are approaches put in place to manage the water quantity (flooding) and water quality (pollution) are issues in the environment. Sustainable drainage is a concept that includes long term environmental and social factors in decisions about drainage. The intention is to regulate surface water runoff close to where it falls and simulate natural drainage as closely as possible.
They provide opportunities to reduce the causes and impacts of flooding, remove pollutants from urban runoff at source, and combine water management with recreation and wildlife. They also help to enhance water quality while protecting natural flow regimes in watercourses.
In many parts of the FCT, there is a great need for properly managed sustainable drainage systems in order to help manage surface water runoff. Neighborhoods keep springing up without proper planning, especially plans for drainage, sewage or waste disposal. Residents regularly dump their waste in gutters, and this clogs the gutters and prevents the flow of water, causing the gutters to overflow.
It is common to see flooded streets with litter floating everywhere after a short period of rainfall during raining seasons. Such situations create very unsanitary conditions for residents of the neighborhoods and contribute to the degradation of the environment. These litters cause stagnation and blockage of water channels, while people around such environments are susceptible to infections from mosquitoes and other insects.