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Abuja sewage collapse raises health concerns

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Immediate action will prevent widespread disease, financial issues and others.

In response to the recent sewage line collapse in Nigeria’s capital, the FCT Chapter of the Environmental Health Officers Association (EHOAN) has called for swift action. EHOAN president Ismaila Dankog emphasised the importance of immediate intervention in an interview. He specifically appealed to FCT Minister Nyesom Wike to address the issue promptly and implement effective solutions to avert a potential Public Health emergency in Abuja. Mr. Dankog emphasised the incident as posing serious threats, particularly with the current Cholera outbreak in the country.

He highlighted the heightened danger of cholera spreading because of the deteriorated sewage system, cautioning about the potentially devastating outcomes if the issue is not resolved. He pointed out various major issues at stake, such as the risk of widespread diseases, weakened environmental Sanitation services, financial difficulties, and the threat of fatalities. Mr. Dankog urgently requested swift measures, such as a comprehensive inquiry into the reason behind the sewage line collapse and the gathering of information from the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB).

All stakeholders must collaborate to safeguard residents’ health.

The health professional advised bringing in trustworthy contractors to fix the broken system and stop more environmental Pollution. It is crucial to take immediate action to control the spread of cholera, such as ensuring that the water board supplies safe water, improving sanitation and hygiene, and implementing other preventative measures, they emphasised. He assured the minister and agencies of EHOAN’s preparedness to work together for a quick response, stressing the importance of immediate action in safeguarding the health of FCT residents.

All residents are being warned by the AEPB to be mindful of how they dispose of waste in order to protect the city’s sewage system. An assistant director at Wupa Basin Treatment Plant, AEPB, Ndidi Emma-Agbodike, emphasised the importance of not dumping Solid Waste in sewer manholes, as they are essential for maintaining sewage flow and preventing any overflow. He expressed concern about the rising issue of improper waste disposal in the area, leading to a surge in sewer system blockages.

Urban development and public safety hinge on infrastructure management.

Also, the recent breakdown in Abuja has shed light on the numerous Infrastructure obstacles that fast-developing urban areas must confront. This not only raises concerns about immediate health hazards but also emphasises the critical role of effective urban design and upkeep. Urban centres such as Abuja, grappling with substantial population increases, need to focus on maintaining vital services to avert similar breakdowns. Urban development and public safety hinge on proactive infrastructure management and investment, a point underscored by this event.

When a sewage system is compromised, the impact on public health is significant. Diseases spread through water, like cholera, become a major issue when sewage pipes stop working. The contamination of water and surroundings can cause diseases to quickly spread, placing a heavy burden on healthcare systems and resulting in high rates of illness and death. It is essential to implement successful public health strategies, such as large-scale vaccination initiatives, educating the public on proper hygiene habits, and ensuring access to clean water to minimise the repercussions of infrastructure breakdowns.

Related Article: Over ₦500bn lost to improper waste management

Moreover, the collapse of the sewage line has major economic consequences. Expenses like healthcare bills and decreased Productivity from sickness will also impact the Economy. To prevent future issues, significant funds must be allocated to update the system and establish routine maintenance plans. Developing sustainable urban infrastructure may require the combined efforts of Private Sector partnerships and public-private collaborations to raise essential funds and expertise. Promoting community involvement and adaptability are crucial components in handling and rebounding from infrastructure emergencies.


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