In the heart of Lagos State, the Idi-Araba community in the Mushin Local Government Area is battling an alarming crisis that threatens the health and well-being of its residents. The situation, characterized by an open canal turned into a dumpsite, not only poses immediate health hazards but also raises long-term concerns for the community. This article explores the dire consequences of this crisis, emphasizing the risks it poses to both safety and health.
The Pollution Problem:
The once-pristine canal in Idi-Araba has now become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, inviting diseases like malaria and typhoid into the community. Poor sanitation practices and a lack of access to safe drinking water have plagued the area for years, leaving residents vulnerable to a myriad of illnesses. The open canal, heavily polluted with plastic and garbage, has created an offensive odor that permeates the environment, taking a toll on the physical and economic well-being of the residents.
Residents who fall ill due to the polluted environment face a double burden. Not only must they contend with health issues, but they are often unable to afford the cost of treatment. The World Health Organization (WHO) highlights that typhoid fever is common in places with poor sanitation and a lack of safe drinking water. Access to these basic necessities, along with typhoid vaccination, is crucial in preventing such diseases, as per WHO guidelines.
The Role of Poor Waste Management:
The canal’s transformation into an illegal dumpsite, clogged with plastic and garbage, amplifies the risk of infectious diseases spreading across the community. Inadequate waste management practices contribute to the problem, creating an environment conducive to disease-carrying pests and pathogens.
The Daily Struggles:
Residents of Idi-Araba are confronted not only with health risks but also with daily inconveniences. The putrid smell, poor sanitation, and polluted environment impact their livelihoods, making them irregular at their places of work due to ill health. This vicious cycle perpetuates poverty and suffering among the community members.
The Alarming Statistics:
A study has shown that people living within one kilometer of a dumpsite are at a higher risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and diabetes. This risk is most pronounced for those residing within 500 meters of the dumpsite. These findings underscore the gravity of the situation in Idi-Araba.
The Global Perspective:
The crisis in Idi-Araba mirrors a global issue. The WHO reports that over 3.5 million people die annually from water-related diseases, with the majority of these deaths occurring in developing countries like Nigeria. Access to clean drinking water is a fundamental human right, yet millions are denied this basic necessity.
Flooding and Stench:
During the rainy season, Idi-Araba turns into a disaster zone. The canal overflows with waterlogged trash, flooding homes and bringing disease-causing bacteria and parasites. The stench becomes unbearable, and the health risks multiply, with respiratory infections, skin diseases, and waterborne illnesses on the rise.
Despite the dire circumstances, the people of Idi-Araba are not giving up. They have formed community groups to clean the gutter and educate their neighbors on proper waste disposal. However, it’s a daunting task given the scale of the problem.
Government and Resident Responsibilities:
While the government plays a role in addressing this crisis, residents must also take responsibility for their actions. Encouraging proper waste disposal and ending the indiscriminate dumping of refuse is a crucial step towards a healthier and safer Idi-Araba.
The crisis in Idi-Araba serves as a stark reminder of the critical importance of proper waste management, access to safe drinking water, and sanitation. Residents’ health and livelihoods are at stake, and the government and the community must work together to find a sustainable solution. The clock is ticking, and the risks are too grave to ignore.