Campaign against open defecation, pollution of rivers and illegal grabbing of canals amongst others, formed parts of the major trust of 2021 world rivers day celebration in Ilorin Monday.
The event was organized by the Lower Niger River Basin Development Authority, Ilorin to create awareness on the negative effects of polluted rivers and need to protect and restore fresh water.
Themed “Water ways in our communities”, the campaign was coming against the backdropped of prediction by Nigeria Metrological Agency (NIMET) of imminent flood disaster in Iloriin west and Patigi Local Government Areas of the state during the 2021 raining season.
A street campaign organised to mark the day took off from the premises of the Lower Niger River Basin Development Authority, Ilorin located along Basin Road, took the management and staff of the Basin round some major streets of Ilorin before it terminated at Baba-Ode community.
Speaking during the campaign, managing director of the Basin, Engineer Saheed Adeniyi Aremu, decried the alarming threat to aquatic environment in Nigeria and called for concerted efforts to halt the trend.
“Our rivers have several cultural, religious, health, socio- economic and environmental impacts. Unfortunately pollution of the aquatic environment is a serious and growing problem in Nigeria. Our rivers are being polluted by indiscriminate disposal of sewage, solid wastes, industrial wastes and other human activities, which has affected thier physio-chemical characteristic and microbiological quality”, he said.
He urged residents of Kwara communities especially those in riverine areas to heed Nimet warning which predicted Iloriin West and Patigi local governments as hot spot in Kwara.
“Demands of the work water day” he said is “to prevent Illegal grabbing of rivers and canal, and ensure access of poor so that they can use the resources as livelihood and boost the economic status.
“Stop point and non-point pollution of rivers (reuse, effluent discharge, pesticides, defecation) and all negative activities that create barriers(s) to easy flow of water in rivers”, he said.
“A clean fresh water” he added “has been enssential to the fight against COVID-19”.
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For his part, the state Commissioner for Water Resources, Wahab Agbaje White canvassed the use of “earth friendly body product” to end pollution of water.
He said body product produced from chemicals when washed goes into the earth and cause pollution to water thereby endangering aqautic and human lives.
He said the Kwara State Governor, Alhaji AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has engaged several youths and local divers for evacuation of Asa River even as he said efforts were on top gear for dredging of the river.
Alao speaking Remi Bamigbe, Kwara State Commissioner for Environment, challenged residents to also wake up to their responsibility on cleaning up the rivers and drainages.
Apostle Omotosho Philip, who spoke on behalf of the communities appealed to government to Provide toilet, refuse disposal facilities and boreholes to the community to prevent further pollution of rivers and water ways.