Lagos Community Turns Canal To Dumpsite, Battles Offensive Odour, Health Hazards
For residents of Idi-Araba community in Mushin Local Government Area of Lagos State, clean air and healthy environment have become elusive.
Findings by PUNCH Healthwise showed that the densely populated community is plagued by malaria and typhoid, with almost everyone suffering from these killer diseases due to the polluted environment.
The open canal running through the neighbourhood has become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and the stench of the canal, which has been turned into a dumpsite by some residents, daily pollutes the environment.
It was gathered that due to poor sanitation and lack of access to safe water that characterised the community for many years now, more than a handful residents of the area amidst poverty are daily confronted with one type of illness or the other with women and children badly affected.
The situation is made worse through the presence of rodents, who invade homes, shops and all corners of the area.
Some residents, who have fallen ill as a result of the development, told our correspondent that they can longer afford the cost of treatment.
The residents said the offensive smell not only takes a toll on their health but also on their livelihoods as they are not regular at their places of work due to ill health.
The World Health Organisation says typhoid fever is common in places with poor sanitation and a lack of safe drinking water.
Access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene among food handlers and typhoid vaccination are all effective in preventing typhoid fever, according to WHO.
Our correspondent observed that the canal runs through the community and has become a dumping ground with plastic and garbage floating clogged to it.
As the pile of garbage swells by the day, the situation becomes more dire with residents worried that the conversion of the Idi Araba canal to an illegal dump site may lead to widespread occurrence of infectious diseases across the community.
The drainage in the area was clogged with tonnes of waste, while the drainage channels coming from different parts of Mushin and linked to the Idi-Araba canal were always filled with debris and plastic.
One resident, Ayodele Oluwafemi, told PUNCH Healthwise that most of them encounter malaria, typhoid and diarrhea due to the dirty and polluted environment.
Oluwafemi said, “A lot of people are falling sick in our community. Hardly will you see someone from a household that has not fallen sick in the last two weeks.
“This happens because of the kind of food we eat. We get our food around the canal and most of the time it is infected because of the flies and other things that might have touched the food.”
The filthy environment
Going round the community, PUNCH Healthwise observed that Idi-Araba reeks of government neglect and utter disregard for healthy environmental practices by the residents.
Some of the affected streets including Bamishile, Ayinla, Ogunsanwo, Garba Musa, Abati, Adekunle, and Babalola, are filthy and littered with heaps of garbage.
Houses are built close to the drains in utter disregard for town planning rules, while indiscriminate dumping of refuse seems to be an entrenched practice.
During the visit, it was discovered that the canal, which acts as a secondary drainage system to ferry floodwater, had turned into a mountain of solid silt, waste, and vegetation.
A towering garbage mountain looms around the area, spewing putrid fumes and attracting pests. This growing pile of refuse is not only an eyesore, but also a ticking time bomb of health hazards for the residents.