Lagos State Government yesterday mandated all filling stations, eateries and shopping malls to maintain clean toilets and give access to the public. The Commissioner of the Environment, Dr. Samuel Babatunde Adejare, gave the directives during the celebration of the 2017 World Toilet Day at Ojodu-Berger Bus Terminus. According to him, by United Nations’ estimate, 2.5 per cent of the world’s seven billion people, mostly in rural areas, do not have proper sanitation while 1.1 billion people still defecate in the open.
Adejare said proper handling of these critical issues would help reduce government’s expenditure on treatment of diseases and make more money available for other important public uses.
He said: “This has significant impacts on human health, dignity and security as well as the environment, social and economic development. The countries where open defecation is most widely practiced are the same countries with the highest mortality rate of children under five, high levels of under nutrition and poverty as well as large wealth disparities.”
The commissioner added that sanitation and toilet issues required urgent actions to stem the tide of diseases and bring about healthy citizenry. He said: “All public institutions in the state such as filling stations, eateries and shopping malls are mandated to maintain clean toilets and give access to members of the public. We have also ensured that non-compliance attracts appropriate sanctions.
“This staggering statistics no doubt calls for urgent action among all stakeholders to prioritise toilet and sanitation issues, enhance access to water and sanitation facilities and as well spread awareness of the ills of undesirable sanitation practices.”
Adejare said that the administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode was making determined efforts to eradicate the menace of open defecation and urination through the provision of public toilets and upgrading of already existing facilities.
He said that the Lagos State government’s commitment to attaining the smart-city status for the state could not be sacrificed at the altar of poor sanitation and inefficient solid waste management, stressing that the environment remained the state’s priority as it was important for maintaining a secure and more prosperous state.