By Adolphus Lalong
The State of Nigerian Environment Performance index ratings released recently by Clean-up Nigeria (CUN), a foremost environmental group has showed that over 168 million Nigerians in 2019 are still living in unclean environment, compared to 170 million in 2018.
The study conducted in partnership with the Clean-Up the World, Australia; International Council for Local Environment Initiative, Canada; Keep America Beautiful, United States; DSZ Germany, and Suez Foundation in France, also ranked Akwa Ibom State and Abuja as the cleanest state and city respectively for 2019.
The study conducted from January 2018 to December 2019, comprised of 15 members who were split into seven teams comprising two persons per team for each geo-political zone, with five international partners that carried out verification tours around the country to monitor and re-evaluate earlier scores submitted by each study team.
The report indicated that Akwa Ibom State in South-South Nigeria has emerged the cleanest State in Nigeria for the year 2019 while Abuja emerged the cleanest city in Nigeria beating Uyo the Capital city of Akwa Ibom State by only 2 per cent (68% against 66%).
Presenting the findings in Abuja on Saturday, the National Coordinator/Secretary of the National Technical Study Group (NTSG) Prince Ene Baba Owoh, said the group used performance indicators scores of streets/roads cleanliness, vegetation/drain control, waste management services, public opinion pool (pop) + social media and knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) of hygiene and sanitation of the populace.
Some of the observation recorded according to him, funding by states/Local Government councils are still inadequate and actually amounts to nothing when compared to the work at hand, this equally calls for serious review on the part of governments at all levels.
“We recorded little improvement of the health of sanitation workers employed both government and private sector participants on waste management from 54% in 2018 compared to 59% in 2019,” he said.
He noted that remarkable increase has been recorded in the informal sector operators on waste recycling and reuse enterprises as a result of the increased poverty and lack of employment in the country.
While pointing out that the incidence and prevalence of sanitation related diseases has moved from 20 different diseases in Nigeria to 23, he said sanitation/hygiene practices of the people in over 34 States and the FCT still leaves much to be desired and calls for serious multiple strategy by government at all levels, individuals, groups, and the private sector.