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Experts Say Waste Water Can Be Recycled 

By Elvis Tah

An expert in sewage and hygiene sanitation, Dr. Iyenemi Kakulu, from the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Nigeria, has said waste water can be treated and used for domestic purposes.

She made the statement during a workshop on Improving Municipal Waste Water Management in Coastal Cities recently, at the National Advance School of Public Works Annex, Buea. According to Dr. Iyenemi, there is a mixture of domestic, commercial and industrial waste water in our major cities that could be treated and utilised, yet people are yearning for good potable water.

"The quality of water supply in urban towns and cities varies in composition and quality in industrial discharges. It also varies with consumption, climate and the state of sewage network," said Dr. Iyenemi. According to her, statistics have it that about 1.1 billion people in the world don’t have access to adequate water supply, while there are also 2.4 billion people who don’t have adequate sanitation.

She decried the dumping of untreated waste matters and factory sewage into streams, rivers and the sea, saying these pollute the water and destroy biodiversity. Dr. Iyenemi also informed participants on how and where to build latrines and sceptic tanks within an environment. She as well reminded participants that wells should not be dug near sceptic tanks because metabolic substances would filter into them. 

The hygiene expert said the United Nations Environmental Programme, UNEP, and the Global Programme for Action are concerned with the level of marine pollution caused by municipal waste water. To Dr. Iyenemi, if waste water is properly treated before being discharged into the marine environment, pollution and water-borne diseases would be reduced tremendously in our society.

Talking on the importance of the workshop, she said the course started in 2004.
"UNEP has run the course in about 56 countries and has trained over 1,500 people in the last four years. It came to West Africa and in Nigeria last year. The Rivers State University of Science and Technology is responsible for taking the course around the coastal cities," Dr. Iyenemi said.

She said UNEP is trying to address the waste water management problem in Africa, the Pacific and the Caribbean countries. "We hope that participants at this workshop will initiate the need for waste water treatment plants in and around different parts of the country, which will go a long way to reduce diseases like typhoid, cholera and other water-borne diseases," said the expert.

Meanwhile, the Director of Regional Centre for Water Supply and Sanitation Facilities, CREPA, Eboueme Bountsebe, said, "We have observed that many people focus only on the access to drinkable water and forget about the fact that while using the water; we have to manage that which has been wasted."

Eboueme said the workshop is funded by the United Nations Environmental Programme, UNEP, in collaboration with CREPA. Participants included employees from the Public Works Department, the Council, environmentalists, academics, tourists and people who are responsible for generating, using and disposing of waste water.

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