Why where we defecate is a matter of life and death.
It’s 1pm in the afternoon, location, the popular Millennium Park in the heart of Abuja, after several draughts of water there’s need to use the convenience — to prevent stories that touch– you know. After walking round half panicking and enduring more than a few awkward conversations with bystanders, what were once toilets, were pointed out.
Well, to cut a long story short, these out houses have been out of commission for a while, with the surrounding bushes and flower beds turned into free-for-all urinals and who knows what else. This sight is not peculiar to this park. While a discussion on this topic was given on radio; other parks, hangouts and even civil service workplaces were reported to have appalling and non-existent toilet facilities.
Some would ask in the standard Nigerian fashion “ehen, and so? How does toilets affect anybody, you’ll just find your way.” But this line of talk ignores a fundamental human need, even a need of all living things. We must excrete, it could be said that’s what makes us human. A secondary issue stemming from this is that of public health, disease and epidemics.
“Some would ask in the standard Nigerian fashion “ehen, and so? How does toilets affect anybody, you’ll just find your way.”
How do bad toilets affect us?
- Deprivation of exercising a fundamental human need: Countless studies show how retention of matter to be released is injurious to health. If people who have to move, work or perform myriad of other activities in public areas know that once they leave their homes, there will be no usable toilets before getting back, will form the habit of not hydrating or feeding outside the home.
- Contagion, disease and epidemics: The greatest epidemic, to take the world over in the 1800s, Cholera was exacerbated by the poor sewage systems in existence. Sewers and gutters over ran and spread the deadly pathogen to hundreds of thousands. The same can happen today, if we’re careless about the handling of excrement and human waste in public places, it’s only a matter of time when we cry foul on things that could have been prevented or mitigated with proper infrastructure.
It’s not rocket science, “as you lay your bed, so you lie on it” applies. Demands must be made, standards must be put in place to turn around this state of things. It’s common sense. It’s emotional intelligence.