Charges FG on urgent action on safe water, sanitation
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
As Nigeria joins the world to mark World Water Day 2020 on Sunday, March 22, 2020, an international nonprofit organization, WaterAid Nigeria, has revealed that 55 million Nigerians lack access to the safe water pump.
This was made known in a statement issued by the organization, where it highlighted that these 55 million people in Nigeria representing 29 per cent of the population who do not even have covered well close to their homes, which is making it much harder to cope with the growing impacts of climate change.
In its analysis of global water access On the frontline, it indicated that the state of the world’s water 2020 examines how climate change is making it harder for people in the world’s poorest countries to rely on being able to drink clean water every day, which pointed that inadequate amounts of climate finance spent in these countries to help them cope with the impacts of climate change.
According to the organisation 116 million people in Nigeria do not have basic sanitation, which 37.8 million people practice open defecation across the country, while 55 million people are without clean water, with 110 million not having basic hygiene facilities, and around 60,000 children under the age of five in Nigeria die from diseases caused by the nation’s poor levels of access to water, sanitation, and hygiene.
World Water Day 2020, on 22 March, is about water and climate change, and how the two are inextricably linked.
The idea for this international day goes back to 1992, the year in which the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro took place. That same year, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution by which 22 March of each year was declared World Day for Water, to be observed starting in 1993.
“This World Water Day, WaterAid Nigeria is calling for urgent action from the Nigerian government and international community to include safe water and sanitation in their plans for dealing with the impact of climate change.
“There are currently about 55 million people in Nigeria – 29% of the population – who don’t even have a basic water pump or covered well close to home, which is making it much harder to cope with the growing impacts of climate change.
“WaterAid’s analysis of global water access on the frontline: The state of the world’s water 2020 examines how climate change is making it harder for people in the world’s poorest countries to rely on being able to drink clean water every day, whilst highlighting the currently inadequate amounts of climate finance spent in these countries to help them cope with the impacts of climate change.
“Everyone needs water to survive. Ensuring that everyone has a source of safe water they can rely on whatever the weather, is the vital first line of defense against the growing threat of climate change.
“The most immediate and widespread impacts of climate change are felt through the water – extreme droughts, sea level rises, more frequent floods, and powerful storms, all of which threaten people’s access to safe water.
“WaterAid is calling on Nigeria to include planning for how to provide climate-resilient water and sanitation services in its NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution) plans – the document which it is obliged to produce by the Paris Agreement on Climate Change– and its National Adaptation Plans. This sets a baseline from which countries can develop bids to access global climate funding sources.”
Meanwhile, the organization also stated that “Nigeria ranks 55th most vulnerable country to climate change – among the top 35% in the world – but only receives USD $1 per person, per year in climate finance. This is for both mitigation – cutting carbon emissions – and adaptation – reducing the impacts of climate change.
“While developing countries contribute very little to global carbon emissions, they are the least prepared to withstand the effects, with little money allocated towards helping them. The average person in Nigeria accounts annually for emissions of 0.546 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide – compared to the average per capita emission in the United States of 16.5 metric tonnes.
“Across the world nearly 800 million people do not have access to clean water close to home, while a staggering two billion people do not have access to a water service that is free from contamination, putting them at risk of waterborne disease and death.
”By 2050, the number of people expected to face problems in getting water at least once a month is expected to swell to five billion globally – over 50% of the world’s population.
“Access to clean water is uniquely vulnerable as climate change piles more pressure on water sources that are already overstretched due to inadequate infrastructures, poor water management and a lack of government funding.”
In an assertion by the Country Director, WaterAid Nigeria, Evelyn Mere, noted that life has become harder due to changing climate, which poor people currently bear the brunt of the impact.
“No-one can survive without clean water. No-one can thrive if they have to struggle to find it. But right now, our changing climate is making life harder for the world’s poorest people who are already struggling to get clean water.
“WaterAid’s report shows that far too little is spent on helping the most vulnerable people adapt to the impacts of climate change which is putting the health and lives of millions at risk.
“Governments must recognise the vital role clean water plays in helping their people be more resilient to climate change and work to address this urgent threat now so that future generations can stay safe and healthy.
“Climate change also affects the occurrence of infectious diseases. Climatic conditions affect epidemic diseases, shifting the burden of diseases and increasing health risks for the populace. It is therefore crucial that we tackle climate change so as to mitigate these health risks as well”, Mere said.
Here are some key findings highlighted include, Half of all countries get less than USD $5.20 in climate finance per person, per year to help them cope with the climate crisis; In Africa, which accounts for less than 4% of global carbon emissions, over two-thirds of countries have less than USD $1 in climate finance per person, per year allocated towards clean water, decent sanitation and hygiene; Only 5% of climate finance is spent on helping countries adapt to climate change.
Even less is spent in the most vulnerable countries, and less still on vital services like clean water, placing billions of lives at risk; and half of the countries where more than 10% of people do not have water close to home get less than 84 cents per person, per year in climate finance for water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) service adaptation.