BY: OLUWASEUN BOYE
Environmental hygiene is not only key to healthy society but also a virtue towards attaining a nation. There is a general parlance that says, cleanliness is next to godliness and according to Narenda Modi that says “Cleaning up the Country cannot be the sole responsibility of sweepers. Do citizens have no role in this? We have to change this mindset” and join hand in making our nation great.
A clean environment includes clean air, water, land and energy, it is necessary for healthy living devoid of sicknesses in human existence and for conducting business as well as creating wealth.
Cleanliness therefore entails maintaining neatness both physically and mentally which can manifest in person’s way of dressing, the house he lives or environment and surroundings. As revealed in a recent research carried out by some scientists in USA. The importance of good environment cannot be overestimated. Major factor that influences the growth of individuals and the nation at large has a great link with the environment.
Unfortunately various elements that made up the environment, such as, air, water, land and others are contaminated, posing serious threat to human existence with lots of diseases and hazards.
Some of the notable environmental pollution causing health hazard hail from human socio-economic activities which include; illegal dumping of refuse, inadequate sanitary facilities, among others.
These major environmental hazards must get immediate government attention while all encompassing system must be put in place to ensure corrective and preventive measures in the society.
In the past while growing up, the impact of “Wolewole” also known as Environmental Health Officers or Sanitary Officers cannot be over emphasized, as they became prominent household names for both young and old at ensuring clean and hygienic environment.
Sanitary Inspectors or Sanitarians play important role in the prevention and control of diseases from spreading in the communities. They conduct routine inspectional activities of food service establishments to ensure safe, wholesome and healthy food products from where they are being produced or processed.
They visit different communities, homes, markets, to enforce the sanitary rules, conduct routine shelter inspections to ensure adequate safe and healthful living for all people promoting a Yoruba parlance that say Imototo bori arun mole bi oye se nbori ooru arun iwosi tinu egbin lawa ina ni iwo aso onida . It is glaring today that the functions of sanitary officers are no effective as they used in the past. Factors contributing to this include; dearth of trained personnel working tools and incentives, incentives, inability to monitor their operations among others had taken a toll on the dedication to duty at ensuring safe and healthy environment this failure is affecting the good image of the nation globally among the committee of states.
More importantly, government at all levels must however support activities aimed at improving or maintaining the standard of basic environmental conditions such as provision of clean and safe water, clean and safe ambient air that is devoid of pollution from industries, clean abattoirs and hygienic ways of displaying food items for sale in the market human, and industrial waste disposal, protection of food from biological and chemical contaminants and adequate housing with clean and safe surroundings.
It is quite pathetic that Nigeria that claimed to be the giant of Africa and reference point of honour among other African nations has not gotten the concept of using it hygienic environment to attract tourists and boost influx of viable investors.
Just like what is obtainable in the most of the developed nation USA, Germany, Rome among others. Over 40 percent of Africans are trooping annually to seek for better living condition.
As a matter of fact, some key agencies of government such as Ministries of Environment, Urban and Physical Planning, Health Rural Water and Sanitation Boards must put their hands on deck to ensure enough enlightenment and campaign programmes right from primary schools and other institutions of learning in order to inculcate the habit of good hygiene and good practice for environmental protection.
The Prominent centre of attraction is the family which is the smaller unit of the society. If the family can catch the children young by imbibing in them good mannerisms, acts of cleanliness acts such as washing of hands regularly with soap and water. Bathing regularly, brushing of teeth and wearing clean cloths and footwear impacted on them as a way of life. This culture will make them neat citizen and future potentials that will redirect the affair of the nation to a greater height.
Experts says the benefits of improved sanitation are enormous apart reducing the spread of intestinal worms trachoma as well as cholera which are neglected tropical diseases infectious disease caused by vibro cholera. It reduces the severity and impact of malnutrition, as well as promote dignity and boost safety, particularly among women and girls.
It is quite painful and eyesore when some cities and states in sub-Sahara Africa are reportedly overwhelmed with dirty and filth occupying major needs among other places. This unpalatable situation gives impression of nonchalant attitudes of residents along such streets. African should understand that refuse and waste from homes without toilets are all eyesore not only to passerby but even to visitors and tourists to the area. Little wonder, people who are used to dirt sit comfortably in dirty environments and work places unperturbed. All these attitudes must change if we desire to be a great; nation that promote healthy society. One of the biggest obstacle are tackling lingering sanitation problem is people’s mindset that clean environment is the responsibility of sweepers.
It is therefore essential to step up campaign programmes in the media on the need for individual to be conscious of cleanliness as individual responsibilities and hype more on the state environmental protection policy.
The time is now when we must all take responsibilities for our actions by giving it what it takes to live and stay healthy. It’s time to change some people bad mindset by embracing various hygienic practices such as personal hygiene of hand washing, clean dressing, correct table manner, household cleanliness (kitchen, bathroom cleanliness, etc) Community cleanliness as well as proper hygiene at work place among others.
Government at all levels are striving day-in-day out to see to the well being of the governed as a patriotic citizen we must promote environmental hygienic culture and realize it is not right for citizen to throw dirts from their vehicles while on motion, throw thrash carelessly around and even in gutters. We must learn to embrace good personal hygiene, educate ourselves on the dangers of living in a dirty environment and thirst after a healthy society. World Health Organization (WHO) in its recent report on the best practice to containing and preventing the spread of corona virus pandemic in our society is based on complete hygienic living.
As the present administration in Ogun State is putting in place measures at achieving a clean environment throughout the state in collaboration with environmental health officer known as Sanitary Inspectors at making the State clean and conducive for investment opportunity to thrive.
*Oluwaseun Boye is an Information Officer with the Ogun State Ministry of Information and Strategy and writes via firstname.lastname@example.org.*