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Towards Effective Sewage Management

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The growing cases of reports of Epidemic Diseases at various States in Nigeria have become a source of worry to every right thinking individual. Apart from the recent effort being embarked by the government to stem the trend the sporadic spread to other states, it is necessary to look in wards on the possible primary causes of the epidemic diseases with a view to fashioning workable solutions.

Without mincing words, the way sewage is managed in the country could be the reason for the dilemma being experienced in our health sector .The solid waste, waste water and also industrial accumulated waste have to be given adequate attention. It is based on this that I intend to focus on the key points for effective sewage management and control of epidemic diseases.
The term Sewer refers to conduit usually underground for carrying off drainage water and sewage. Sewage means waste matter conveyed in sewers. Epidemic refers to widespread occurrence of a disease in a community at a particular time.

Obviously, apart from Abuja (FCT), I have not heard of or witnessed a functional centralized sewage system in many states in the country. What obtains is a decentralized system where every resident constructs outlets at ground level to discharge waste water, and also each resident construct septic tank for the solid waste matter. Because population density was low, privies constructed in this way did not create sanitation problems or unbearable nuisance in most of our colonial built cities. Ironically, as population increased, so did the sanitation problems and nuisanses; majority of residents accepted the sanitation problem as urban life except during epidemics or following a disease outbreak when sanitation was given considerable attention. With visits to some densely populated areas in states in the country, one will notice that the amount of poor sanitary condition and nuisances generated have outweighed the sanitation effort being applied by residents, such that they could be prone to any epidemic disease .

WAY FORWARD
  Government could procure solid waste evacuating vehicles and subsidize the rates for residences to use and evacuate solid waste and waste water in their areas of abode as and when due. Presently commercial vehicle owners are patronized and at very exorbitant prices.
  The dumping sites have to be properly treated as the waste is dumped. What was observed is that solid waste and waste water were dumped at farms and fields without formal treatment which in the long run could pose potential health hazards.
  Constant monitoring and sensitization workshops will be needed for the residents in various communities to ensure sanitation consciousness
  There is need from time to time to be documenting the outcome in form of research to appraise the effort.
  There is need for prompt harnessing of the solid waste and waste water for fertilizer manufacturing industries in the country.
  The proliferation of domestic well at almost every residence as a result of acute water scarcity, apart from domestic safety hazards, has been found to pose serious health problems. The problem of waste water from septic tank of the sewage entering under ground into the well water thereby contaminating the water is a possible cause of epidemic disease.

Consequences May I refer to research work on controlling epidemics by Dr. Catherine Dibble, Department of Geography, University of Mary land, USA which was funded by the Office of Naval Research: mail cdibble@umd.edu.

Epidemic costs and damages
>> Epidemic (pandemics) of infection diseases
>> SARS, Small pox, killer influenzas, extremely high mortality rates; severe social and economic disruption; limited resources for intervention and control.


Mr. Christian IBEAKA, a student, writes from the Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka, Anambra State.
Culled from
The Vanguard Newspaper, 2016