Ask Nigeria Header Logo

Canal pollution causes waterborne diseases

Photo of author

By Mercy Kelani

Idi-Araba, Lagos, has poor sanitation and lacks access to safe water.

In Idi-Araba community, Mushin, Lagos State, residents are plagued by typhoid and malaria, as a result of the highly polluted environment. The pollution is attributed to an open canal that runs across the community and harbours mosquitoes and a stench, and has become a dumpsite for some residents. Report has it that owing to poor sanitation and lack of access to safe water in the community, many residents in the area, especially women and children, are often sick with one type of illness or the other.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), typhoid fever is usually present in places that lack safe drinking water and have poor sanitation. The health agency said that access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation among food vendors and typhoid vaccination are effective ways to prevent typhoid fever. It was discovered that the community is suffering from unhealthy environmental practices by residents, and government neglect. Some of the affected streets in the Idi-Araba community include Bamishile, Ogunsanwo, Abati, Babalola, Ayinla, Garba Musa, and Adekunle.

Residents regularly complain of respiratory issues and headaches.

The chairman of the Community Development Association (CDA) of Idi-Araba East Zone 1, Engr. Oluwafemi Ogunsote, stated that the community has been experiencing malaria, cholera, and typhoid outbreaks. A resident of the community, Isa Muhammad, said that residents are vulnerable to environmental hazards as a result of what they inhale on a daily basis. A nurse who reportedly works at the primary health center in Idi-Araba, said that residents regularly complain of respiratory issues and headaches when they report to the health center.

A 2014 study, published in the journal, Environmental Health Perspectives, has revealed that people who reside within one kilometer of a dumpsite have a higher risk of chronic diseases like respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes. The study stated that the risk was highest for residents within 500 meters of a dumpsite. They have a high tendency of having impaired lung function, because one of the contributors to respiratory problems is air pollution. The most common symptoms of exposure to dumpsite and chronic disease are inflammation and oxidative stress.

Over 100,000 Nigerian children die of water-borne diseases.

WHO revealed that more than 3.5 million people across the world die from water-related diseases on a yearly basis. A disclosure by a report of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) stated that 884 million people do not have access to safe water supplies. It added that only 62 percent of the people across the world have access to improved sanitation, with 2.5 billion people lacking access to it. In Nigeria, more than 100,000 Nigerian children below five years old die of water-borne diseases, annually.

UNICEF asserted that similar to the right to live without torture and racial discrimination and the right to food, having access to clean and safe drinking water is a human right. As a result, the Nigerian government should enable more investments in the water sector of the country to ensure that all Nigerians have access to clean water. The need of access to water affects the wellbeing of the citizens in the country, especially the vulnerable — women and children.

Open defecation & organic waste could cause environmental challenges.

Additionally, the President of Lagos Recyclers Association, Dr. Femi Idowu-Adegoke, said illegal dumping of refuse in canals can cause communal diseases. He said that the stench derived from open defecation and organic waste could cause health and environmental challenges, including global warming, which leads to climate change. He also emphasized that the soil and groundwater could be contaminated from the canal. Children in the area are also likely to suffer from bad lungs, air, and breathing conditions.

Related Link

UNICEF: Website

The content on is given for general information only and does not constitute a professional opinion, and users should seek their own legal/professional advice. There is data available online that lists details, facts and further information not listed in this post, please complete your own investigation into these matters and reach your own conclusion. accepts no responsibility for losses from any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of content contained in this website and/or other websites which may be linked to this website.

Fact Checking Tool -