The Lagos State Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tunji Bello, has inaugurated the State’s Sanitation Safety Planning (SSP) Team and Steering Committee for the World Health Organization’s (WHO) programme.
In his address at the brief ceremony held at Alausa, Ikeja, on Wednesday, the Commissioner disclosed that the World Health Organisation had selected Lagos, Bayelsa and Niger States to implement the Sanitation Safety Planning (SSP) in Nigeria.
Bello, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Office of Drainage Services, Engr. Nurudeen Shodeinde thanked the organisation for selecting Lagos as a beneficiary, stressing that as a megacity with a high population, the State requires large investments to manage wastewater, among other things.
The sanitation management system in the State is burdened by the exponential increase in the volume of wastewater generated and the growing cost of maintaining sanitation facilities, he said, adding that the programme will improve the resolution of the government to transition from linear to circular economies, particularly in the area of waste management.
“This World Health Organisation initiative is vital and in line with the Health and Environment pillar of the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration.
As such the Sanitation Safety Planning (SSP) Team and Committee should diligently execute the programme for the benefit of the State as a whole”, the Commissioner advised.
As stated by Funke Adepoju, Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission (LASWARCO), the gaps in the water supply to the population of Lagos State amount to approximately 780 Million Gallons per day (MGD).
In addition, the wastewater treatment facilities and sewers for transporting wastewater are grossly inadequate for the treatment of over 2.3 million cubic metres produced each day.
Water and Wastewater sector challenges are being exacerbated due to the growing urban population, outdated infrastructure, infrastructure deficit, poor cost recovery, water theft, insufficient capacity of actors, and climate change, among others.
Adepoju noted that, despite the challenges, the State Government is committed to improving the sector through LASWARCO, emphasizing that the agency’s role in implementing the SSP is to coordinate the proposed multi-stakeholder initiative.
According to her, the representatives of relevant MDAs and organisations to form the Steering Committee and SSP working team include Lagos State Wastewater Management Office, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Lagos Water Corporation, Ministry of Health, Primary Health Care Board, Ikeja Local Government, Civil Society Organisations and Academia, while WHO trained facilitators and practitioners will give support.
The WHO Liaison Officer, Dr Ahmed Khedr, represented by Dr Clement Nwaeke, pledged the W.H.O’s willingness to work with the State Government to improve the sanitation system in Lagos to handle the waste generated by the growing population.
Sanitation Safety Planning (SSP) is a W.H.O recommended methodology to assess and manage local health risks associated with sanitation systems. The concept was launched in 2018 by W.H.O with its first comprehensive guidelines on sanitation and health to promote safe sanitation systems and practices.