Nigerians that are used to defecating in open places are to be given proper orientation according to an environmental health expert, Dr Oladapo Okareh, who on Friday called for sensitisation of Nigerians on open defecation, saying the practice could lead to outbreak of diseases like cholera and diarrhea.
Okareh, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences (EHS), University of Ibadan, made the call while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan.
“Open defecation is the practice whereby people go out in fields, bushes, forests, open bodies of water or other open spaces rather than use the toilet to defecate or pass bodily waste.
“Open defecation constitutes a major public health problem due to rapid urbanisation, lack of public toilets and low level of awareness,” he said.
According to him, open defecation is a public menace because it could easily lead to outbreak of communicable diseases like cholera, typhoid, diarrhea, intestinal infections, respiratory diseases and tuberculosis.
He said it also causes air and water pollution when human faeces are washed away during the rainy season.
“Water supplies can become contaminated with such faecal matters; we all know that human faeces contain bacteria and germs which consequently contaminate water people use for drinking,” he said.
Okareh said that in order to curb the menace of open defecation, government at all levels should increase public awareness on the health risk it poses to the populace.
“Government can also exhibit political will to stop open defecation through construction of public toilets in strategic places, stringent sanitation laws and proper waste disposal,” he said.