A water crisis in Nigeria
May 16, 2011 by Maximilien Jamieson
Water infrastructure in the developing world is something to be desired. The derelict service has left mass percentages of the population across the countries of Africa suffering from the lack of, or contaminated water sources. Water and Sanitation in Africa is still a large focal point of its development and its health, in the eyes of the international community. Just because some countries have it better than others doesn’t mean that there isn’t a problem anymore.
Water infrastructure continues to evade those who need it, hindering on their development and ability to contribute to the rest of the world. Nigeria has the potential to be an entirely self-sustainable African country. It has a fertile land for crops and grass lands for livestock, a little oil for cars, industrial farming, electricity and all the other uses for it, and finally water. A project conducted by the Global Initiative for Women and Children released a survey last year, showing that out of a population of around 155 million people, 69 million do not have access to clean or safe water, whilst an estimated 103 million don’t have access to adequate sanitation facilities. Just less than half of people don’t have access to clean water, whilst 2/3 of the population don’t have access to sanitation facilities, some shocking numbers.
The average life expectancy in Nigeria is around 47.5 years (in the top 3 lowest life expectancy countries). The child mortality rate is at 91.54 for every 1000 live births, ranking 9th in the world. Diseases that are contracted through water and food are as follow: leptospirosis (Canicola Fever), schistosomiasis (bilharzia), bacterial and protozoal diarrhoea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever. These have affected population growth drastically (HIV/AIDS being the most prominent) making Nigeria a very high risk country in terms of illness all of which could be prevented if the correct precautions were taken, which is sadly not the case.
Earlier this year the UN urged a clean-up of water structures as an acute case of lead poisoning had arisen. With 18,000 being affected and the death of 200 children, UNEP has recommended that greater precautions be taken when processing lead-rich ore and that it not be dumped near or in the drinking sources to avoid further death and contamination. Processing of such ores can happen from compounds to even houses increasing exposure to the population but also to the drinking water supply.
Nigeria not only has a severe water and infrastructure crisis but it also appears that there is a lack of authority when dealing with possible contaminants of the water supply. The high number of deaths due to water contamination may be avoided if drastic precautions are taken and if a better service was available especially to those whom have no access to any of the facilities, water and sanitation alike.
Would you like to help?