Climate change: A battle of interest between industrialized rich countries and Africa

By Odimegwu Onwumere

There is a battle of interest between industrialized countries and Africa on how to alleviate the effects of climate change leading to different conferences being held. The much publicized were the Conference of Parties – known as COP15 – held in 2009; the United Nations, UN, climate talks in Warsaw, Poland, tagged the COP19 – the 19th Conference of Parties 2013; the pre-COP planned for Venezuela in 2014. The most recent is the 21st Conference of Parties, also – known as COP21 – held in Paris in 2015.

{Climate Change picture culled online}
{Climate Change picture culled online}

Lakes are still drying in Africa, unpredictable rainfalls are being experienced, there is continuous rise of temperature, brunting weather molds, water supply and quality shortages, agriculture and food decline, human health worsening, shelter and ecosystems lacerating, erosion taking over landscapes, crop and food shortages and many others characterizing the environment, upon governments and groups are gathering to talk about measures to arrest the effects of climate change

Godwin Ojo on his return to Nigeria from the 21st Conference of Parties (also known as COP21) held in Paris in 2015, which attracted roughly 50,000 participants including 25,000 official delegates from governments, intergovernmental organizations, UN agencies, NGOs, and civil society, lamented about the fight of interest. He is the Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action and was one of the representatives of 195 countries that were gathered in Paris to adopt a novel pact on how to conduct mitigation and adaptation measures concerning climate change.

His expression-of-grief after returning from the COP21 stemmed to the fact that there was a battle of interest between the industrialized rich countries and poor countries at the COP21 over economic interest they gain through industrial productions even when such activities undermine the environment. He nearly regarded the COP21 as a talking jamboree, saying that there was dearth of penalty stated in the case where any country fails the reduction of their emission targets; this suggests that the developed countries are meting out unfair treatments to developing countries, with their frail ambition in cutting climate change, and making Africa to lose billions of money to the rest of the world.

“COP21 was almost a talking jamboree, except that a historic treaty was signed. The outcome was long predicted. It was a continued fight between industrialized rich countries of the world and the poor countries of the world. Despite the energy and time put into the talks, the governments represented the voice of corporations far more than the citizens they govern,” Ojo said.

Africa is said to be at the centre stage of feeling the ruins of climate change while the rich countries are gearing towards a new global measures on emissions, due to their economic interest. Where the developed countries made the notion known is called the Kyoto Protocol – where they wanted to strike a deal on the new laws for emission. But countries that include Saudi Arabia, Bolivia, China, Venezuela called “the like-minded developing nations” kicked hard against the deal that the developed world was striking on emission.

After the Kyoto Protocol, Nnimmo Bassey, well-known environmental activist from Nigeria and founder of Home of Mother Earth Foundation, HOMEF, said that in the COP, as at others, Japan, Canada, the USA and Australia continued an alarming climate-operational quartet, locking the planet on the unpreventable path of fugitive global warming.

Bassey said, “We recall that Japan was the first country to signify that they would not go ahead with another period of the Kyoto Protocol, the only piece of global legally binding, albeit weak, agreement aimed at curtailing emissions to save the planet.

“A further downside of the COP was pointed by the chief negotiator for China who noted that a developed country delegate gave ‘multiple signs that it was utterly unwilling to take the UN climate process seriously, the integrity of the talks was further jeopardized.”

Empty talk on climate change

Without doubt, there are the ghastly effects of climate change affecting the rise of the global population without access to electricity, whereas the developed countries body language suggests that they love their industries that contribute to the menace on the environment instead of cut down their emission. But when conferences are held to cushion the effects of climate change, heavy polluters and corporations are fingered to dominate the conference, as according to Jagoda Munic, Chairperson of Friends of the Earth International, “with their empty talk”.

Munic was among the persons that walked out at the Conference of Parties – COP15 in 2009 – in Copenhagen. He lamented, “While people around the world are paying with their lives and livelihoods, and the risk of runaway climate change draws closer, we simply could not sit by this egregious inaction. Corporate profits should not come before peoples’ lives.”

What Ojo was crying about today – of the industrialized countries not interested in curbing climate change – led to activists walking out of the UN climate talks in Warsaw, Poland, tagged the COP19 – the 19th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change – which ended on November 23 2013, with delegates not reaching a far compromise on how to fight global warming. Bassey said that the walk out sent a strong signal that “the days of empty talks must come to an end.”

“They sent a strong signal that the pre-COP planned for Venezuela in 2014 and COP21 planned for Paris in 2015 must be different significantly from the climate games being currently played in these events,” Bassey, said. Many rather saw the conference as a waste of energy.

Martin Kaiser of Greenpeace Germany, said, “The climate conference in Warsaw was a waste of energy. It was already clear by midweek that small steps forward would be sold as successes but would not help us to negotiate a global climate protection agreement by 2015.”

Simon Anderson, Head of climate change group at the International Institute for Environment and Development, IIED, said, “There is no sense from the outcomes of Warsaw that climate justice is any closer than before the COP was inaugurated. The delays in countries disclosing how they will address reducing greenhouse gas emissions continue. It would seem that we are moving almost inevitably to a 4C degree warmer world.”

While there was an agreement that recognized limiting temperature rise to under I.5 degrees at the COP21, as was harangued by scientists and pushed by global civil society groups, it has been assisted within a 2 degrees development alleyway. This was even as Ojo gave his nod that heavy polluters of the COP should be shown the exit door in order to demonstrate a point and bar shoddy energy companies that are in the business of colossal emissions not to be among the team of decision making process. Ojo frowned that the COP21 ended in talks without concrete measures put in place to the “legally binding and universal agreement on climate”, which was what the conference was meant.

The same was the fate of the Conference of Parties – COP15 in 2009 – in Copenhagen; it dashed the hopes of many. Dr. Anderson said, “The need for both finance and disbursal mechanisms that genuinely reflect and respond to the needs of countries and people that need to adapt and become more climate resilient become even more important. In the absence of agreement on a mid-term target and a clear pathway, poor and vulnerable countries are unable to understand how the developed countries are going to deliver the promised target of US$100 billion annually by 2020. Looking at decisions related to long term finance, developing countries can see a few gains, but there were reassuring words and little else.”

Effects of failed talks on Africa

Talks have been made in different quarters among stakeholders that countries in the West like the United States, China, and the European Union account for almost 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions around the globe, whereas Africa suffers the brunt most. While speaking in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates in February 2016 during the 2016 World Future Energy Summit, Major General Muhammadu Buhari lamented of how Africa was already doomed from the outcomes of climate change.

The billions of money that Africa loses to the rest of the world was captured by the Jubilee Debt Campaign, 15 July 2014, saying, “New research published today by 10 UK and African NGOs reveals Africa is losing $192 billion every year to the rest of the world – almost 6 and a half times the amount of ‘aid’ given back to the continent. This research is the first attempt to calculate Africa’s losses across a wide range of areas. These include: illicit financial flows; profits taken out of the continent by multinational companies; debt payments; brain drain of skilled workers; illegal logging and fishing and the costs incurred as a result of climate change.”

Ojo made a proposal for unrestrained de-carbonization of the Nigeria’s economy and the energy sector. He wanted Nigeria to acknowledge and encourage an energy changeover from oil, gas, coal and other fossil fuels by 2030, by the governments divesting public finance, subsidies and loans for oil, gas and coal.

He believed that renewable energy development was the key to helping the environment if the governments could channel the money into this sector. Buhari’s evidence was that there are droughts and floods in Africa as a result of climate change.

The bewildered President of Nigeria showed expression in the areas of the extreme drying up of the Lake Chad to just about 10% of its original size. He said that this is having depressingly crash on the livelihood of millions of people.

“With all due respect to our neighbours, Nigeria has been worst hit by the drying up of the Lake Chad and we are hoping that the global community will support the process of halting the drying up of the lake,” Buhari said. The president outlined that land erosion is threatening farming, forestry, town and village peripheries in the middle and southern part of Nigeria and in some areas, major highways.

“Desert encroachment in Niger, our northern neighbour and in far northern Nigeria, at the rate of several hundred meters per annum, has impacted on the existence of man, animal and vegetation, threatening to alter the whole ecological balance of the sub-region,” Buhari added.

As climate change goes on in Africa

About $16.9 billion, as according to the Federal Government of Nigeria Report of a Post Disaster Needs Assessment conducted between November 2012 and March 2013, was lost to infrastructure, physical and strong assets and diagonally economic sectors due to the effects of a 2012 flood adversity in Nigeria.

There is apprehension that that over 180 million people in sub-Sahara Africa alone risk death by the end of the century as the climate change goes on. What this means is that they are pronto the effects of change in rainfall, lower crop yields, heat wave and so many others that are yielding to human tension, mitigation and conflict. The population of people without access to electricity is rife in Africa with the unrepentant characteristics of energy challenges.

The 2014 Africa Energy Outlook, the International Energy Association, gave a rough estimation of 620 million living in the absence of electricity and many in the number of 730 million using risky methods as means of cooking. This does not leave about 600,000 people from dying as a result of indoor pollution from over-dependence on biomass for cooking. In looking for ways to curb the menace of climate change and make provision for energy, there have been different alliances the United Nations, including Africa, had formed to develop sustainable energy.

There have been the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Initiative; Sustainable Development Goals (particularly Goal Seven on energy); UN Climate Change Conference Paris 2015; African Energy Leaders Group (AELG) at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Davos 2015; Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Others are Friends of the Earth International; the International Trade Union Confederation; Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance, Bolivian Platform on Climate Change, Jubilee South (APMDD), 350.org; Greenpeace; WWF; Oxfam; ActionAid; and the Philippines Movement on Climate; Africa’s Renewable Energy Initiative at COP 21, the AfDB’s Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA); global Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions; United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Yet, Africa is still grappling with energy difficulties and the effects of climate change.

The long years establishment and investment in fossil fuel energy which is led by the public sector, have not produced the desired result. For instance, there is a stance that about $16 billion was spent by Nigeria between 1999 and 2007 on energy alone. Many of such huge sums of money were expended on the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) without it yielding the expected power supply.

Diplomatic rows

Since the developed world have been said to be more interested in what becomes of their industries which contribute to climate change, Africa may be losing in the diplomatic rows for a strong international leadership and futuristic policies. This makes Africa more susceptible to the impacts of climate change.

Apart from the West that has been said that contributes 50% of the emissions in the world, South-Africa with her addiction to coal and problems of debt might not be having it fair with the change. There is a herald that Eskom with the construction for Kusile, regarded as “the monstrous coal-fired power plant”, with the cost of the R60.6 billion, would have been beneficial that the country invested in renewable energy as alternative to energy.

Africa is not learning from the past mistakes in these times of climate change as many countries on the continent are gearing towards establishing nuclear energy, investing in renewable energy and not, leaving gas flaring, coal mining as means of energy utilization, when it is clear that experts have said that the global carbon bank that should hold developed countries answerable has not been used to generate solutions.

On May 18 2016, the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Minster of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola said at forum in Abuja, that Nigeria had secured the necessary certification from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). How to safeguard against catastrophic climate change is the bane, no matter the numerous jobs that such feat portends to create. In many of the African countries, energy security is not guaranteed.

For instance in Nigeria where the ears were deafened for liberalization of the Nigerian power sector at the peak of the millennium, the people are still praying for power. But this is not the case with a place like England where the 1989/1990 reforms, brings to the world’s glare as the epicentre of contemporary day electricity market liberalization, when most African countries are lagging in the development of key power generation sub-sectors.

It is observable that with all the gas flaring and coal mining in the sub-Sahara Africa, energy poverty remains rife. The developed world with its hyper-industrialized activities is not helping the continent of Africa for energy sufficiency, except “the lack of access to modern energy services”.

Conversely, while the industrialized countries and Africa are logged in the clash of interest, experts have pointed out that individuals can contribute to the fight against climate change. Elizabeth Landau of the Cable News Network, CNN, on May 6, 2014, talked about five steps individuals can take at home to take action which include 1. To become informed. 2. Make changes at home. 3. Be greener at the office. 4. Reduce emissions in transit. 5. Get involved and educate others about the big picture.

Odimegwu Onwumere is a Rivers State based poet, writer and consultant and winner, in the digital category, Nordica Media Merit Awards 2016. Tel: +2348057778358. Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

 

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Endometriosis: Unraveling the gap between medical experts and scientific understanding

By Odimegwu Onwumere

“Endometriosis poses a danger in making the women’s world to go on extinction if the menace is not arrested soon.”

The good-looking, brilliant and soft-voice wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo said this in her keynote address as a Special Guest of Honour at the luncheon of Nordica Media Merit Awards 2016, held at the Endo Gala Night & Fund Raising Dinner, on Saturday April 9th.

{Endmetriosis causes infertility}
{Endmetriosis causes infertility}

All over the world, an approximation of 89 million women has endometriosis, according to the Endometriosis Association, a research and advocacy group. Forlornly, many women have become their own pain manager for years, due to the gap between medical experts and scientific understanding.

“Why is the gap so huge between scientific understanding of the disease and the treatment people are getting? There’s a lack of understanding in the medical community of what options are available and what symptoms to look for,” said Dr. Grace Janik, a reproductive surgeon in Milwaukee.

Women are structured in the same mechanism, but specialists have said that 6 to 10% of the general female population is inflicted with the wreck. Some gyneacologists are said not to be comfortable carrying out surgery on 12, 13- and 14-year-olds. In Nigeria and some countries, there is even the dearth of pediatric gyneacologists.

“The medical teaching on endometriosis was that it’s a disease of women in their reproductive years, not adolescents. Many times, we hear that girls are told they’re too young to have the disease, they’re trying to get out of school, or that they’re exaggerating.

“Add the misconception that pain with menstruation is normal, and you get a bundle of confusion. And not the least, most gyneacologists are uncomfortable treating adolescent gynecological problems, and pediatricians don’t,” said Mary Lou Ballweg, the president and executive director of the Endometriosis Association.

Early to mid 1980s, British, and Australian endometriosis groups were set up. It was notable that members of the public had bowel symptoms as at the time, but it took the efforts of few connoisseurs to notice that bowel symptoms were a widespread symptom of endometriosis.

“It was only when the national endometriosis groups began talking to leading gynaecologists about the experiences of their members that doctors began to look for and find bowel symptoms in their patients.

“Sometimes the gynaecologist will refer the woman to a bowel specialist if he or she is not sure whether the bowel symptoms are due to endometriosis or another cause,” said a global forum for news and information, endometriosis.org.

Many women who have had “pelvic floor disorder” were approved pelvic muscle exercises for days, most times, “three times a day”. When some teenagers have some gynecological disorder, they do not want to complain; they deal with it in order not to be disdained by their wards and due to, the ignorance of understanding endometriosis.

The irony is that in a country like the USA with her hi-tech, among a rough estimation of 6 million women suffering from endometriosis, most women with the disease were said, started having the symptoms before the age of 20, without their doctors or them knowing what the disease was.

What endometriosis does

Many women across the world have been in menopause at 20. During their menstrual period, they weep. And if that was not working, they groan. Some even yell “Jesus…” and if that was not working, they call “Jehovah…”

Some rush to spiritual homes and others take to pain relief. Sexual intercourse is even a nightmare. They have a sensation in their abdomen as if they have butterfly flying in their stomach. Most times, some pass out from the cramps.

They feel nauseated, constipated and exhausted. To the wealthy among them, each sees over 30 doctors per annum. When they could not find what was wrong with them, the pains are ascribed as a part of being a woman.

But those in Nigeria who have visited the Nordica Fertility Centres and have Dr. Ajayi performed a laparoscopy to see what was going on, at last, understand that they have endometriosis.

Ms. Fuersich, a co-founder of a support group, Endo Warriors, once told her doctor, “I feel O.K. It was very discouraging that I had to be in pain for so many years before I got any real help.”

Not sleeping on their oars

Ex-Beauty Queen Nike Oshinowo whose authentication at the Nordica Media Merit Awards 2016, of how endometriosis has been an unfriendly friend, brought tears down her jaws.

While testifying on the podium about the presence of endometriosis, she asked for the reason doctors and scientists keep on telling the world what endometriosis is and are yet to find a cure.

Despite the fact that there is no cure for endometriosis yet, many medical experts are not sleeping on their oars and watch women gnash their teeth in pains as a result of the disease.

The Nordica Fertility Centres in Lagos, Asaba, Ibadan, are carrying journalists along in the sensitization of the disease. Many Nigerians at home that have heard about the disease know what it means through the fervent task that Dr. Ajayi has been taking to liberate the women’s world in Nigeria from the scourge.

Uncountable numbers of children have been delivered of women at the Nordica Centres; women who once had challenges of fertility. Over 300 cases of endometriosis have been diagnosed and being treated at the Nordica Centres. Here and there is the Nordica Fertility Centres holding sensitization march.

Apart from fibroid which is a known factor that causes infertility in women, Dr. Ajayi has exposed the ugly handiwork of endometriosis as among the key causes of pain during sexual intercourse and infertility in women.

Misconception of endometriosis

All over the world, therapeutic measures that relief of clinical symptoms is yet far from being curative; and medical experts like Dr Ajayi are working round the clock in making sure that the plague is managed.

Ex-Beauty Queen Oshinowo lamented that endometriosis is reducing the feature of life of women since evidence is yet to be shown that medical-surgical conduct drastically boosts fertility among the affected without the application of therapies.

Many women had ascribed endometriosis with ethnic coloration, not taking to the fact that it is the “presence of endometrial-like tissue (glands and stroma) outside the uterus”.

“A lot of women who are looking for relief from endo will undergo a hysterectomy, and that won’t necessarily provide a relief from their symptoms,” said Dr. Linda M. Nicoll, an assistant professor in obstetrics and gynaecology at NYU Langone Medical Center.

In most cases, about 25 to 50% of unproductive women have endometriosis without them knowing.

Endometriosis in Nigeria

Whereas Nigeria is just coming to terms with the reality of endometriosis through the efforts of Dr. Ajayi in the area of sensitization and taking medical care, countries in Europe and America had over two decades been making donations towards the fight against the disease.

There was an announcement by the Public Health Executive Agency of the European Union on May 10th, 2007, that a €296,000 grant was bestowed to a European league of universities and patient support organizations in creating wakefulness about endometriosis in Europe. A source added, “In financial terms, one analysis estimated that endometriosis cost the U.S. $22 billion in 2002, including hospitalizations, loss of work, surgery, and medications.”

From Australia to America, from UK to UAE, groups and individuals are forming alliances in supporting the fight against endometriosis, but Nigeria and her government are behaving like they have the symptoms of endometriosis which include “nausea, lethargy, chronic fatigue” in realizing the efforts of Dr. Ajayi.

Researchers viewpoints

“In a study of 229 women undergoing surgery for endometriosis, French researchers found that those with the most extensive form – known as deep infiltrating endometriosis (DIE) – were more likely to have had particularly painful periods as teenagers,” reported Reuters, a news outfit.

Dr. Ajayi had informed about the three forms of endometriosis in the company of superficial endometriosis, ovarian endometriomas and DIE. He said that the latter is largely widespread. In making sure that the endometriosis sensitization reaches the nooks and crannies of Nigeria, Dr. Abayomi Ajayi, the Managing Director of Nordica Fertility Centre, Nigeria and his team, hosted the ‘Nordica Media Merit Awards 2016’.

The awards which were meant for the news items published or broadcasted the previous year had many entries from journalists across the country. At the Endo Gala Night & Fund Raising Dinner, held on Saturday April 9th 2016, three journalists in the categories of the Print, TV and Digital smiled home with the some of N250, 000, each.

The award-winning journalists had been remunerated with the prize money for their efforts in contributing to women’s fertility sensitization, hence making the ‘Nordica Media Merit Awards 2016’ a reality that journalists should gear up in preparation for the next contest.

This is because news outfits like Reuter, said, “Women with DIE usually have adhesions in multiple areas of the pelvis, including the vagina, bladder, bowel and the ligaments attaching the uterus to the pelvis.”

A source that would only want secrecy, said, “Experts don’t know if women are born with these cells in the wrong location, whether the cells actually migrate or if the condition is caused by some disorder of the immune system.”

A specialist, Ellen T. Johnson advised in *When others don’t understand*, a superlative treatise, saying, “In general, people view illness as a self-limiting event. A person gets sick, they get treatment, they get better. They mistakenly believe that if they don’t get better, it must mean they have a fatal disease.

“Most people don’t know there’s something between a minor annoyance and a life-threatening illness. They aren’t aware of chronic pain, persistent disease processes, or invisible illnesses.

“It’s difficult for most people to comprehend because it’s outside their realm of knowledge and experience. But there are ways to help our friends and family understand what we routinely go through as we repeatedly deal with endometriosis.”

Odimegwu Onwumere is a Rivers State-based poet, writer and consultant and winner, in the digital category, Nordica Media Merit Awards 2016. Tel: +2348057778358. Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

Agenda 2063: Uncertain future for African youths

With the 2009 African Youth Charter not achieving its desired objectives and the 2013 African Union Agenda 2063 for youths also tolling the same path, Odimegwu Onwumere writes on the urgent need for African leaders to work harder in helping youths achieve their goals, rather than dim their futures.

Africa has a variety of youth employment challenges and the youths are discouraged than unemployed, connoisseurs have said. They are at worse discouraged through working poverty, therefore sending uneasiness suggesting that there may be no “New Africa” by 2063 if urgent measures are not taken.

“Working poverty and unemployment rates are strongly negatively correlated in Africa, suggesting that many young people prefer unemployment over working poverty and will choose unemployment in the hope of finding a better job when they can afford it,” the African Economic Outlook, a youth partnership forum, testified.

There are situations that characterise the youths that include poor education, cultism, civil unrest, banditry, and others. On 2nd July 2006, the African Union Heads of States and Governments saw the need to apprehend the situations affecting the youths and they held a meeting in Banjul, Gambia.

The outcome of the meeting was the endorsement of the African Youth Charter (AYC), which entered into force on 8th August 2009. The plan for the youths in that charter was titled “The Youth Decade Plan of Action”, which target was to be realised between 2009-2018.

But that roadmap created for the effective popularisation, ratification and implementation of the AYC, has yielded little or no result, as the youths on the continent of Africa are still underrepresented in 2016. Failing the youths, Agenda 2063 was formed at the OUA/AU 50th Anniversary Celebration held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in May 2013.

{The Africa We Want in 2063)
{The Africa We Want in 2063)

The failure of the leaders in not making the youths achieve their socio-pol-eco goals has culminated to youths on the continent being used by politicians for shoddy deals, kept in ignorance and poverty in a continent ranked to be in the fold of the world’s consumers, where households spend half of their earnings on nonfood things.

“Young people under 25 represent three-fifths of sub-Saharan Africa’s unemployed population, and 72 percent of the youth population lives on less than $2 a day. To help their families, 30 percent of children between the ages of 5 and 14 are forced to work, which robs them of the educational opportunities that could break their families’ cycles of intergenerational poverty,” the World Bank reported.

In 2000, it was visible that $5,000 or above were made by many households on the continent as income, but they finished them on consumption without creating effective local contents for local and international demand in order to increase on domestic growth. The sarcasm is that the youths are not fanatically trained to handle the future, but situations in Africa have foisted on them that they must work to help themselves and their families. They engage in ugly dealings to keep body and soul together, while hoping to get better job avenues that are often rare to come by.

“By 2030 there will be roughly 24.6 million people entering the job market in sub-Sahara Africa annually. This growth represents two-thirds of the world’s entire workforce, which means job creation will be a necessity for sub-Saharan economies to benefit,” said the source.

Skill gap

There is an impression that the youths in Africa are termed as those not in need of job in the labour market and will not contribute to the work force. But an informant informed that the high rates of hindrance to engage the youths boils down to removing them from the labour markets that they go through in Africa.

“25% of African youths are still illiterate and despite a rise in primary school enrolment from 60% in 2000 to 77% in 2011, the issue of low skills levels in the workforce will continue to be a problem,” the African Development Bank frowned.

In 2014, Tighisti Amare who’s the manager of an Africa programme at Chatham House, said, “Levels of education in Africa are comparatively low creating a considerable skills gap among youth at working age.”

It is a confirmation that the different countries on the continent hardly factor the youths into general and development planning, making the youths not to be united. But these countries have in one way or the other blamed the rise in youth population as the cause of unemployment on the continent.

Amare had rebuffed that notion in a civic presentation, saying that it could be the lackadaisical approach of the continent that has resulted to the negligence of the youths and certainly, not the swelling in population of the youths that has created dearth of employment opportunities.

“The correlation however is not always direct, nor that simple. First, the youth bulge has not created an even unemployment rate throughout the continent. Secondly, it is not the numbers of young people that has created unemployment, but structural issues specific to individual countries,” Amare said.

Population

The concern for the youths on the continent of Africa is how to cope with the nonstop rise in population when there are no job opportunities. While the world fears that the youth population in sub-Sahara Africa alone is the highest in the world, Nigeria is anticipated to outnumber the population of the United States by about 30 million people by 2050.

The World Bank estimated in an account of 2015 that in the sub-Sahara Africa, there have been 186 million to 856 million people from 1950-2010. Going by the analysis of about 11 million people a year, “by 2060, the population of sub-Sahara Africa could be as large as 2.7 billion people.”

There is trepidation that Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania, DRC, Niger, Zambia, and Uganda will contribute millions of people to the world along with China and India. These countries will have the largest populations in the world.

“Compare this demographic shift to Europe’s projection of a declining population – from 738 million people in 2010 to 702 million in 2060,” said the report.

An assessment is that youth population is rife in sub-Saharan Africa, making it the highest in the world. Invariably, this population does not have the training, skills and economic will power to arrest the future.

“The figures instead are largely the result of specific economic and political contexts. Lack of investment in infrastructure and subsidy for sectors with potential for creating jobs for example, have created deep structural issues. In many cases, these issues predate the youth bulge,” Amare affixed.

Among the stakeholders who have raised their voices to carve a niche for the continent to learn and relearn from the past and face the future with resources accruing from Africa and in Africa, the Agenda 2063 is believed to be on the court of the youths to handle. Nevertheless, the youths are not seen by their leaders, who are mainly aged, to have significant economic roles to play in the Africa’s development. This mindset has made Africa not to realise the potency of the Private Sector as the engine of economic growth; and the youths would excel in this sector.

Government at all levels

It was learnt that governments all over Africa refuse to subsidise some sectors, thereby making such sectors to struggle beyond expectation and most times close shops when they could not pay their workers wages. This has affected the youths the most. An example is South Africa where the mining sector, which is said to have an estimate of 400 thousand people in its employ, had series of retrenchment due to the struggle to meet up with the wages of workers.

The same was the fate of the agricultural sector. The negligence of the youths has formed a stance that the next 50 years, what will become of the youths protuberance in the continent is fearsome, because many youths do not have jobs. And how to coordinate activities capable for future challenge in Africa among the youths is yet uncertain. Job and employment opportunities are farfetched for youths in Africa. Many youths are born into poverty and they are yet to change that mindset, because there is hardly any institution geared towards involving entrepreneurial skills from the kindergarten.

Some who have developed the entrepreneurial skills have problems of funding and the right mentorship to excel: Problems that the governments at all levels are not looking into assiduously. The disquiet is what will become of the youths by 2040 when experts have said that the continent’s work force will be projected to 1.1billion from the roughly 500 million it is. While the sub-Sahara Africa is said to be the height of youth population in the world, South Africa has been pointed out as a country with the highest levels of youth unemployment in the region.

Voices have been raised that almost 50% of the youths in South Africa are unemployed. The World Bank once saw Rwanda as one of the lowest youth unemployment rates in the world. The revenues of the countries have not been really managed well upon the economic boom that most countries had experienced. Unlike in the 70s, Africa has GDP rising in telecommunications, banking, retailing, construction, oil, grain, raw materials, minerals, roads, buildings, water systems, similar projects and others.

While the countries have been enjoying the economic boom, individual businesses are biting the dust. In 2008, Africa was said to have garnered $1.6 trillion in GDP, measuring that of Brazil or Russia. In 2000, records have it that Africa increased from $9 billion to $62 billion in 2008 in annual flow of foreign direct investment, roughly as huge as the surge into China. In 2008, oil rose to $145 from $20 it was in 1999. From 2002 to 2007, it is on record that Africa had economic growth in all sectors.

Yet, youths did not find a successful ground even as privatisation policy boomed in African governments in state-owned enterprises. The privatisation policy was hoped to hype openness of trade, reduce corporate taxes, and strengthen regulatory and legal systems, but to no avail as the continent continues to look up to the West for donor. Africa’s per annum private infrastructure investments have skyrocketed since 2000, rating $19 billion from 2006 to 2008.

Between 1999 and 2006 Nigeria privatised more than 116 enterprises; the youths sang Hosanna in the Highest that things were going to be good. But till date, the country is grappling with economic difficulties just as Morocco and Egypt that kicked free-trade agreements with major export partners are still gasping for economic breath.

Challenges facing youths

Statistics have shown that the youths constitute two-fifths of the working population in Africa if they are employed, “they make up three-fifths of the total unemployed.” Meanwhile, Africa’s labour force is expanding, in contrast to what’s happening in most of the rest of the world. The continent has more than 500 million people of working age. By 2040, their number is anticipated to surpass 1.1 billion – more than in China or India.

“Over the last 20 years, three-quarters of the continent’s increase in GDP per capita came from an expanding workforce, the rest from higher labour productivity. If Africa can provide its young people with the education and skills they need, this large workforce could become a significant source of rising global consumption and production. Education is a major challenge, so educating Africa’s young people has to be one of the highest priorities for public policy across the continent,” reported Acha Leke, Susan Lund, Charles Roxburgh, and Arend van Wamelen of McKinsey&Company.

World Bank held that the existing rate in Nigeria, is 89 dormant people per 100 active workers, and in Uganda it’s 103. South Africa was said to have youth unemployment rate of 48% in 2009, in contrast to 19% for adults. On the part of Egypt, there’s youth unemployment rate of 25% compared to only 4% for adults in 2007. It has been informed that each African countries has to pursue its own growth since there is no central government on the continent and therefore, develop framework for accepting how the opportunities and challenges affect its youths, by providing business strategies and novel insights for policy makers.

Odimegwu Onwumere is a Rivers State-based poet, writer and consultant and winner, in the digital category, Nordica Media Merit Awards 2016. Tel: +2348057778358. Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

Sachet water endangering public health

By Odimegwu Onwumere

Notions are that water is one medium through which pathogenic organisms are spread. The substantiation is that sachet or packaged water, which is the major means of drinking water in Nigeria, is not exempted of deadly organisms, due to its microbial substance.

{Sachet Water}
{Sachet Water}

Unsafe water supply, laughable sanitation and shameful environment are fingered as the cause of over 70 percent diseases in the developing countries. A-case-in-point is Miss Eruchi Chinda, a resident of Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, who is fond of drinking chilled sachet water. She starts experiencing symptoms of fever. She visits her doctor and is diagnosed of typhoid fever, caused by Salmonella typhi and related illnesses.

Professor Amobi Ilika, the Director of Community and Public Medicine at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi, Anambra State, in March 2013, when in a civic presentation, cautioned that sachet water exposed to heat is capable of exposing the drinkers to cancerous materials.

Chinda’s doctor informs her that the typhoid fever is not unconnected to drinking impure water. The doctor touches sachet or packaged water as the causative factor, cases of people having diseases like cholera, dysentery, diarrhoea, typhoid fever, and so many others, abound today.

How sachet water gets contaminated

Professor Ilika was of the view that polythene bags made of synthetic petroleum deteriorates water in them, because the polythene bags are weather-susceptible. He averred that some of the sun ray or heat, melt some of the synthetic petroleum into the water. He enthused that the materials that will drop into the water are called carcinogenic. Not only that, the polythene bags also build-up germs and micro organisms.

Chinda’s doctor confirms that the diseases occur, because of the presence of bacterial features such as Bacillus sp., Pseudomonas sp., Klebsiella sp., Streptococcus sp., and oocysts of Cryptosporidia sp., which have been traced to be present in sachet water.

There are also traces of other microbial pathogens connected with water pollution which include Salmonella, Shigella, Vibrio, Campylobacter, Yersinia, Cryptosporidium and Giardia species, according to the experts, and they are not farfetched in this type of water.

The highlight of this is that vendors of the sachet water are not technically and scientifically grounded on handling and producing sachet water through storage and handling.

Why Nigerians drink sachet water

Water, which is essential to human being, has recorded immeasurable years of neglect in Nigeria by the successive governments, hence leaving the supply of drinking water in the country in undependable hands of sachet water producers.

The populace loves this brand of water, which comes in sizes ranging from 60 mL to 2 L, due to its portability. However, many citizens are oblivious of the health hazards that it portends. The citizens may not be blamed, since they need ways to douse their press for water. And it is cheap to purchase a sachet.

But that is not the least. As a viable business in Nigeria, the sellers of sachet water protested in some parts of the country in February 2016, due to the economic downturn that the country experienced. Their anger was that a bag of the product, with habitually 20 sachets that was sold at N100, had skyrocketed for N150.

A sachet that was sold for N10, jumped for N20. The failure to provide safe, pipe-borne water for human consummation by the successive governments, led to the production of sachet water in Nigeria. The governments’ ineptitude geared the sale of such water by individuals, with many of the producers not having in-depth knowledge of producing quality water.

 

Re-certification of sachet water producers

The authorities, having earful of complaints on the dangers associated to sachet water proposed a bill in the recent past, to ban this type of water in the country. But the bill later bit the dust.

The Director of Special Duties, Mr. Abubakar Jimoh of National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), on February 10 2014, said the agency, in cooperation with the Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, and the Senate Committee on Health, had put every modality in place towards the re-certification and examining of sachet water producers in the country, with effect from March of the year in quote.

His words were that the agency spurred for the monitoring, because it had newly acquired mobile laboratory kit just like a van, well equipped with latest ultra-modern testing kit. What was intended to be done was for the agency to be moving with the ‘vehicle’ from one factory to another.

That was coming after January, 2014, the Federal Ministry of Environment mouthed its plan to phase out light weight non-biodegradable plastics in the country, having collaborated with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, UNIDO, in December 2013, in a workshop, to put Nigerians on notice. Their gesture was that countries like China and South Africa had placed outright ban on light weight plastic bags, likewise some other countries.

Environmental Degradation

Sachet water packs are known as a major source of environmental degradation in the country. On June 5 2013, the authorities made known their plans to ban the use of plastic bags in the country, beginning by January 2014.

The Minister of Environment, Mrs. Hadiza Ibrahim Mailafia, disclosed this then, during the 2013 World Environment Day celebration in Abuja. The statement has not hold water as used sachet packs liter everywhere across the country. In some states of the federation, upon the introduction of waste banks, buy-back programme, to checkmate the nuisance of used sachet packs, orderliness is still elusive.

The country is in a big problem, as synthetic, black bags, polythene bags have crowded the ecosystem, constituting about 70% of Nigeria’s non-biodegradable waste. There are indications that it takes over 20 years for a sachet water bag to get wholly decayed inside the soil.

Its presence decreases the quality of soil texture. The fear among experts is that these bags are in the landscape. And they are not bio-degradable, comprising a pain-in-the-neck. The mockery is that the country is in dearth of framework to address the issue.

The wastes block drains, gutters and canals. Not only that, they cause odiferous atmosphere. A new time comer to metropolis and urban centres in the country is greeted with the foul odour. To the residents, the offensive smell has become part of their life. It means nothing to them.

Apart from the foul odour, sachet packs gathered by flood during the rain, do not allow easy flow of water, hence causing overflow of erosion into residences. Seeing this, the states government often introduces levies to residents to help dispose them of their wastes, but this does yield little or no result.

Suggestions: How to get out of the puzzle

Checks revealed that waterborne disease outbreaks can be checkmated by the provision of portable water, which is often regulated to keep public health, owing to the fact that drinking water is an important environmental determinant of health.

In order to rearrange the system, water treatment plants should be provided, such with a capacity over 5,000 m3/d, based on the population, but should be handled by trained personnel. Specialists intoned that poor operation and lack of maintenance that led to the breakdown of the water systems should be reviewed. This will enable the citizens not to rely on unreliable wells, unprocessed water from rivers and streams used in producing sachet water.

Odimegwu Onwumere is a Rivers State-based poet, writer and consultant and winner, in the digital category, Nordica Media Merits Awards 2016. Tel: +2348057778358. Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

Amateur-rocket makers launch Nigeria into space

By Odimegwu Onwumere

Gideon Emenike and Chibuisi Nwafor were aged between 16 and 17 years when in 2013 they launched a rocket they’d made into space. Thrity minutes and five kilometres later, it crashed into the plot of Augustine Eke, a retiree.

The clatter of the crashed rocket was deafening. Their feat flustered their rural community of Umuchima Ubaha, Okigwe LGA, Imo State and by extension, the country. Then state Police Commissioner, Mohammed Katsina first suspected terrorism, and residents thought it was a bomb.

{CP Katsina talks with the rocket launchers}
{CP Katsina talks with the rocket launchers}

When CP Katsina got to the site and found that the cause was not terrorists, he portrayed the children’s exploit as “markedly wild.” However, he said, “It was an exercise into the world of science and technology by some adventurous, skillful, and intelligent young boys with incredible creativity.”

Leaving secondary school in 2012, Gideon first built a helicopter when he was in SS1, at Federal Government College, Okigwe, Imo State, as a school project. While neglected due to the fact that he was not a son of a bourgeoisie, he did not faulter, but entered a national competition in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, when he was in SS2, with a rocket he built. He came second, and the Society for Science and Technology also adjudicated him second in their competition.

He was told that he would be representing Nigeria in Brazil, after he won the second position at an Olympiad competition. But as he was neither a son of a senator nor a son of a governor, it was a botched recommendation. Gideon, who met later with Chibuisi Nwafor when they built the rocket, was confused about the Brazil cancellation.

He said, “I still don’t know why the principal cancelled the trip. This frustrated me somehow, but later I picked up from where I dropped, and started again. That was how we planned to build a rocket and a satellite, and send it into space. It was an amateur satellite.”

Wasting talents

When CP Katsina found out that the rocket was fabricated from simple elements such as sugar and computer accessories, he said the boys were wonderful. Comfort Obi, the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of *The Source*, a weekly Newsmagazine, pointed out, “There are many Gideons and Chibuisis in Nigeria: Young people with raw talents and a burning zeal to be of use to their country. But nobody cares. If these teenagers were armed robbers, kidnappers, thugs, cultists, assassins or terrorists, somebody would have taken note.”

In March 2011, 28-year-old Shehu Saleh Balami, who took interest in rockets when he was a kid, launched solid-fuel rockets – J03 and J04. The ‘J’, he said, stood for his mother’s name Jummai, because of her contributions and encouragement towards the realisation of his dream. Balami launched the rockets he produced with 100 percent local content at an estimated cost of N30, 000 each, in Kaduna. Conversely, the rockets did not reach the height he had envisaged.

Said Balami, “The rockets I launched did not reach the calculated height of 1.3km, it could be from the potassium nitrate, which I suspected might have been adulterated, because I did not change the mixture I used for the previous ones that flew well.”

“Our aim is to create awareness on the practical application of what is learnt in school for the development of the society. Our group started from the university when, we delivered lectures to students on science and technology from jet and, rocket engines to electric circuit. The name of the group in school was Passion for the Application of Engineering and Technological research Information (PAETRI),”

Balami is a graduate of Mechanical Engineering from the Federal University of Technology (FUT) Minna. He began his researches when he made a remote-controlled aircraft. That was after his first project was aided by his friends, under the auspices of Movement for the Propagation of Science and Technology in Nigeria.

The same song of sorrow

Nigeria’s real interest in space technology began in 1996, when a national remote sensing centre was established in Jos, in the middle of the country. The space programme, however, got a major boost in May 1999, when Olusegun Obasanjo, upon being sworn in as president, set up NSRDA with Boroffice as its first chief executive. .

By October 1, 2013, the Chairman of Centre for Creative Scientists in Niger Delta (CENSINDA), Mr. Ayebanua Keniyinbo Apollos, a talented 43-year-old graduate of Chemistry from the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RUST) Port Harcourt, Rivers State, said the President Goodluck Jonathan Space Centre in Ayama-Ijaw in Southern Ijaw, Bayelsa State, was geared towards launching its rocket and Ifieye (It’s time) satellite – a scouting satellite powered by solar energy – into space by May 2014.

By contrast with Balami, whose rockets cost just N30,000 each to build, Apollos said the local content for his project, which was 100 percent, was at an approximate cost of N100,000 each, with the satellite placed in an elliptical orbit of 3800 km, and would remain in space for a year.

However, both Balami and Apollos now sing the same song of sorrow. Says Balami, “If the government pays attention to local science and technology inventors and supports them financially, I believe very strongly that one day, we will be able to build our own satellite or the engine that will take the satellite into space.”

Apollos chorused, “If both the state and federal governments pay attention to local science and technology inventors and support them financially, I believe very strongly that one day, we will be able to build our own satellite or the engine that will take the satellite into space.”

Nigerian government prefers foreign scientists

“Gideon, Chibuisi, Balami and Apollos represent the many wasted, technology-savvy minds in Nigeria, yet the country is looking to foreign intervention to help it launch into orbit by 2030. While the children achieved their accomplishments unaided by any individual, group or government, it may take Nigeria as a federation 15 years from now to launch its first astronaut into space,” Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu said, while speaking to a commission from the Defence Space Agency in Abuja on March 24th 2016.

{Ogbonnaya Onu (Minister of Science and Technology}
{Ogbonnaya Onu (Minister of Science and Technology}

Yet Nigeria, neglecting her local engineers and technologists, was set to launch its own rocket into space, after the successful launch of SAT- 2 and SAT- X to the orbit on August 17 2011. The disclosure was made during a visit by a nine-man delegation from the Nigerian Institute of Physics, led by its national president, Professor Emeka Okwueze in that year, to then Minister of Science and Technology, Professor Ita Okon Bassey Ewa.

While Dr. Onu is looking to 2030 when the country hopes to launch astronauts into space, it seems Nigeria has neglected its existing work. Scientists in Lagos State alone, the Centre For Space Transport And Propulsion (CSTP), Epe, have been, without international assistance, building and launching tentative rockets, said a Coordinator of the Centre, Mr. Oluremi A. Fashade. What Nigeria does is to employ the service of foreigners to launch rockets without giving a hoot about local manufacturers and local content. A-case-in-study was on December 19 2011, when a considerable Nigerian communications satellite was launched by China.

This satellite, it was planned, would connect Africans with television programming, education services and navigation signals. It was built by the China Academy of Space Technology. The satellite is known as Nigcomsat 1R, believed to provide optimal and cost effective voice, data, video, internet and application-service solutions; and would be operated by Nigcomsat Ltd., a company contracted by the Nigerian government, for up to 15 years.

“Nigeria after 50 years of independence still relies on advanced countries for satellites due to the lack of an atmosphere that helps indigenous talented inventors to thrive. There is a need for the Federal Government to provide an enabling environment for science and technology inventors in the country if it wishes to attain the desired Vision 20:2020,” Balami bewailed.

The UN in December 2009 tasked Nigeria with taking the Nigerian national space policy programme, which was on course, more seriously. Space research and development activities can be seen as part of a valid strategy for sustainable national development.

 

Odimegwu Onwumere is a Rivers State based poet, writer and consultant and winner, in the digital category, Nordica Media Merits Awards 2016. Tel: +2348057778358. Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

Sachet water endangering public health

By Odimegwu Onwumere

Notions are that water is one medium through which pathogenic organisms are spread. The substantiation is that sachet or packaged water, which is the major means of drinking water in Nigeria, is not exempted of deadly organisms, due to its microbial substance.

Unsafe water supply and laughable sanitation are fingered as the cause of over 70 percent diseases in the developing countries.

{Sachets water photo culled online}
{Sachets water photo culled online}

A-case-in-point is Miss Eruchi Chinda, a resident of Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, who is fond of drinking chilled sachet water. She starts experiencing symptoms of fever. She visits her doctor and is diagnosed of typhoid fever, caused by Salmonella typhi and related illnesses.

Professor Amobi Ilika, the Director of Community and Public Medicine at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi, Anambra State, in March 2013, when in a civic presentation, cautioned that sachet water exposed to heat is capable of exposing the drinkers to cancerous materials. Many won’t listen!

Chinda’s doctor informed her that the typhoid fever was unconnected to drinking impure water. The doctor touched sachet or packaged water as the causative factor, cases of people having diseases like cholera, dysentery, diarrhoea, typhoid fever, and so many others, abound today.

How sachet water gets contaminated

Professor Ilika was of the view that polythene bags made of synthetic petroleum deteriorates water in them, because the polythene bags are weather-susceptible. He averred that some of the sun ray or heat, melt some of the synthetic petroleum into the water. He enthused that the materials that will drop into the water are called carcinogenic. Not only that, the polythene bags also build-up germs and micro organisms.

Chinda’s doctor confirmed that the diseases occur, because of the presence of bacterial features such as Bacillus sp., Pseudomonas sp., Klebsiella sp., Streptococcus sp., and oocysts of Cryptosporidia sp., which have been traced to be present in sachet water.

There are also traces of other microbial pathogens connected with water pollution which include Salmonella, Shigella, Vibrio, Campylobacter, Yersinia, Cryptosporidium and Giardia species, according to the experts, and they are not farfetched in this type of water.

The highlight of this is that vendors of the sachet water are not technically and scientifically grounded on handling and producing sachet water through storage and handling.

Why Nigerians drink sachet water

Water, which is essential to human being, has recorded immeasurable years of neglect in Nigeria by the successive governments, hence leaving the supply of drinking water in the country in undependable hands of sachet water producers.

The populace loves this brand of water, which comes in sizes ranging from 60 mL to 2 L, due to its portability. However, many citizens are oblivious of the health hazards that it portends. The citizens may not be blamed, since they need ways to douse their urge for water. And it is cheap to purchase a sachet.

But that is not the least. As a viable business in Nigeria, the sellers of sachet water protested in some parts of the country in February 2016, due to the economic downturn that the country experienced. Their anger was that a bag of the product, with habitually 20 sachets that was sold at N100, had skyrocketed for N150.

A sachet that was sold for N10, jumped for N20. The failure to provide safe, pipe-borne water for human consummation by the successive governments, led to the production of sachet water in Nigeria. The governments’ ineptitude geared the sale of such water by individuals, with many of the producers not having in-depth knowledge of producing quality water.

Re-Certification of sachet water producers

The authorities, having earful of complaints on the dangers associated to sachet water proposed a bill in the recent past, to ban this type of water in the country. But the bill later bit the dust.

The Director of Special Duties, Mr. Abubakar Jimoh of National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), on February 10 2014, said the agency, in cooperation with the Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, and the Senate Committee on Health, had put every modality in place towards the re-certification and examining of sachet water producers in the country, with effect from March of the year in quote.

His words were that the agency spurred for the monitoring, because it had newly acquired mobile laboratory kit just like a van, well equipped with latest ultra-modern testing kit. What was intended to be done was for the agency to be moving with the ‘vehicle’ from one factory to another.

That was coming after January, 2014, the Federal Ministry of Environment mouthed its plan to phase out light weight non-biodegradable plastics in the country, having collaborated with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, UNIDO, in December 2013, in a workshop, to put Nigerians on notice. Their gesture was that countries like China and South Africa had placed outright ban on light weight plastic bags, likewise some other countries.

Environmental Degradation

Sachet water packs are known as major sources of environmental degradation in the country. On June 5 2013, the authorities made known their plans to ban the use of plastic bags in the country, beginning by January 2014.

The Minister of Environment, Mrs. Hadiza Ibrahim Mailafia, disclosed this then, during the 2013 World Environment Day celebration in Abuja. The statement has not hold water as used sachet packs liter everywhere across the country. In some states of the federation, upon the introduction of waste banks, buy-back programme, to checkmate the nuisance of used sachet packs, orderliness is still elusive.

The country is in a big problem, as synthetic, black bags, polythene bags have crowded the ecosystem, constituting about 70% of Nigeria’s non-biodegradable waste. There are indications that it takes over 20 years for a sachet water bag to get wholly decayed inside the soil.

Its presence decreases the quality of soil texture. The fear among experts is that these bags are in the landscape. And they are not bio-degradable, comprising a pain-in-the-neck. The mockery is that the country is in dearth of framework to address the issue.

The wastes block drains, gutters and canals. Not only that, they cause odiferous atmosphere. A new time comer to metropolis and urban centres in the country is greeted with the foul odour. To the residents, the offensive smell has become part of their life. It means nothing to them.

Apart from the foul odour, sachet packs gathered by flood during the rain, do not allow easy flow of water, hence causing overflow of erosion into residences. Seeing this, the states government often introduces levies to residents to help dispose them of their wastes, but this does yield little or no result.

Suggestions: How to get out of the puzzle

Checks revealed that waterborne disease outbreaks can be checkmated by the provision of portable water, which is often regulated to keep public health, owing to the fact that drinking water is an important environmental determinant of health.

In order to rearrange the system, water treatment plants should be provided, such with a capacity over 5,000 m3/d, based on the population, but should be handled by trained personnel. Specialists intoned that poor operation and lack of maintenance that led to the breakdown of the water systems should be reviewed. This will enable the citizens not to rely on unreliable wells, unprocessed water from rivers and streams used in producing sachet water.

Odimegwu Onwumere is a Rivers State-based poet, writer and consultant and winner, in the digital category, Nordica Media Merit Awards 2016. Tel: +2348057778358. Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com