There was a brief introduction of #ClaimYourWaterRights and its relation to sanitation. Ifeoma spoke on the importance of an open defecation free state having discussed the state of sanitation in Nigeria. She also emphasised on the rights of sanitation workers.
The vox pop from the interview from 4 children and one sanitation were played. The Four children that were interviewed in Onuagba, Nike community acknowledged that they practice open defecation because do not have a toilet at home
The sanitation worker interviewed also claimed that a lot needed to be done as he laid several complaints such as bad roads, lack of PPE, lack of convenient dumping ground e.t.c he recommended that a conducive treatment plant be erected by the government and convert the waste to fertilizer.
Engr Nwaeze a sewage worker was asked what change and challenges he has experienced since the outbreak of COVID-19
He said COVID has affected the sewage business and the prevalent challenge experienced by their workers is stomach upset and when such happens they are taken to the hospital.
How does someone become a member of the association, is it controlled by the government or the association?
Engr Nwaeze explained how the association was formed as a result of bad roads and lack of government-owned dumpsite.
Last year, we had a meeting with the Commissioner for the environment where we visited one of our dumpsites at Ngwo and it was discovered that some of the waste get into the river, so we were stopped from going there and we were moved to Ugwuaji with a commitment to install a processing plant of which nothing has been done about it
Has the private sector been engaged to see how they can salvage the situation?
He explained that they attempted engaging some South Africa businessmen to install a treatment plant who could not move forward because they claimed the waste generated in Enugu metropolis would be enough for the treatment test. Engr Nwaeze encouraged the government to cooperate with them as they would generate a lot of revenue because the organic fertilisers from waste are now adopted globally rather than chemical fertilizers
In the effort of evacuating the sewage, what action do you take to ensure it doesn’t pose any health risk to the environment?
Engr. Nwaeze: In Enugu, we use a septic tank and soak away system, there is no central sewage which doesn’t require breaking the soakaway slab. We use kerosene and disinfectant to reduce the smell from the opened slab.
What is the role of the Enugu State Waste Management Authority in all these?
ESWAMA enact a law that controls the evacuation of the septic tanks, he explained that they sometimes experience overflow
Answering the question of whether the government has done enough to ensure that sewage workers get the best access point to dump this sewage. He said they have laid complaints to the governor and I learnt that the project has been awarded, but so far nothing tangible has been done, hence, this affects our vehicles.
Do you think open defecation can be eradicated in the state?
Engr Nwaeze claimed that it can be achieved if a certain law is enacted against open defecation
What do you have to say to people who hire the services of sanitation workers?
Engr. Nwaeze: We will make sure that we render our best by ensuring the environment We work to be safe and clean. We want them to know that we are co-partners in keeping their environment and Enugu state clean because failure to remove human wastes will cause a lot of hazards. We also need the government to install a sewage processing plant.