The Lagos State Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello, has inaugurated the State’s Sanitation Safety Planning (SSP) Team and Steering Committee for the World Health Organisation (WHO) programme.
In his address at the brief ceremony held at Alausa, Ikeja, the Commissioner disclosed that Lagos, Bayelsa and Niger States had been selected by the World Health Organisation for the implementation of the Sanitation Safety Planning (SSP) in Nigeria.
Bello, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Office of Drainage Services, Engr. Nurudeen Shodeinde, expressed his gratitude to the organisation for selecting Lagos as one of the beneficiaries, stressing that as a megacity with a high population, the State requires huge investments to manage wastewater, among other needs.
He stated that the sanitation management system in the State is burdened by the exponential increase in the volume of wastewater generated and the increasing cost of maintaining sanitation facilities, noting, however, that the programme will enhance the determination of the government to diversify from linear to a circular economy, particularly in the area of waste management.
“This World Health Organisation initiative is very important 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.
The Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission (LASWARCO), Mrs. Funke Adepoju, said that the gaps in water supply to the teaming population of Lagos State stands at approximately 780 Million Gallons per day (MGD), while the wastewater treatment facilities and sewers for transporting wastewater are grossly inadequate for the treatment of over 2.3 million cubic metres generated daily.
She said that the challenges in the Water and Wastewater sector are being exacerbated due growing urban population, inadequate wastewater management, ageing infrastructure, infrastructure deficit, inadequate cost recovery, water theft, inadequate capacity of actors and climate change, among others.
Adepoju said, despite the various challenges, the State Government is committed to improving the sector through LASWARCO, stressing that the role of the Agency in the implementation of 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, expressed commitment and readiness of the W.H.O to work with the State Government to improve the sanitation management system to accommodate the waste generation resulting from population growth in Lagos.
The Sanitation Safety Planning (SSP) initiative is a W.H.O recommended approach for local health risk assessment and management for 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.