Lagos community where public toilet operators discharge faeces into river

Residents of the Mile 12 area in Lagos State are lamenting the activities of public toilet operators who they alleged are discharging faeces into the Maidan River located in the area.

“We are tired of the way public toilet operators in this Maidan area of Mile 12 pollute the environment with human faeces. They channel the sewage pipes of their toilets to a river in the community known as the Maidan River instead of building sewage tanks for them.

“Their activities have been affecting our health for a long time and we cannot keep quiet anymore. Our health is in danger.

“We have many public toilets in this area serving traders at the popular Mile 12 Market but none of them has sewage tanks,” Mr Kelvin Olamide, a resident in the Mile 12 area lamented.

According to him, the operators of the public toilets have for years been disposing of human faeces into the river unchallenged despite the environmental and health hazards of their actions.

The 43-year-old Ondo indigene who said he has been living in the area for over 17 years, told ALABAREPORTS HealthWise that the public toilet operators are not bothered about the health and environmental impact of their activities but are only interested in making money.

Olamide told our correspondent that some of the owners of the public toilets who he said were big traders and leaders at Mile 12 Market went as far as building wooden public toilets on Maidan River because most of the traders at the Mile 12 market patronise them.

The Mile 12 Market, Maidan Road and Agiliti and its environs are located in Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State.

Sharing his frustration with ALABAREPORTS HealthWise, the father of three lamented that the activities of the public toilet operators were causing public health problems.

“Their practice is beginning to affect our health as many of the people living in this area are always complaining of one health problem or the other, especially typhoid fever.

“Those of us living on Agiliti road, Maidan road, Oniyanrin street, and Oremerin street are the worst hit.

“Last year, we recorded a lot of cholera cases here. This year, I know that a lot has happened but they decided to keep it a secret.

“Traders flood this area to use these toilets, especially the wooden toilets built on the river because they are cheaper than the ones built on the land.

“The toilets also serve as bathrooms for some of the traders trying to save cost.

“To use the toilets built on land, you pay N100 to defecate and N50 to urinate. But if you have N20 change with you, they can allow you to urinate.

“However, for the wooden toilets build on top of the river, they charge N50 to defecate and N20 to urinate.

“Most of the men go close to the river to urinate without minding who is looking at them because they don’t want to pay. So, the whole environment is polluted and messy. And we don’t have a good source of water supply here,” he said.

Olamide noted that their bad situation was compounded by the lack of access to a water supply and poor refuse disposal.

Continuing, he said, “We usually buy water from Meruwa and we can’t guarantee the cleanliness of that water. And also, people just dump refuse anyhow in this area. You can see how dirty the environment is.

“We want Governor Babagide Sanwo-Olu to help us. Sometimes, some people die here and their relatives will quickly go and bury them, especially children without ascertaining the cause.

“That is even more reason we’re speaking out now. A lot is happening here that requires the government’s attention.”

The term ‘Meruwa’ is Hausa and when translated to English means “water seller”.

Findings by ALABAREPORTS HealthWise during a visit to the area by our correspondent revealed that over 15 public toilets located on Maidan Road and Agiliti Road have no sewage tanks.

Yet, experts have stressed that effective sewage treatment is essential for good public health.

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