Monday, June 17, 2013


Being a Paper Presented on the Occasion of 2012 World Environment Day Celebration at the International Conference Center,
Federal UNIVERSITY of technology, Owerri
31st July, 2012

The rise of the city brought mankind’s first awareness of sanitation. The Romans built splendid public baths and toilets linked to fairly sophisticated water and waste delivery system. The ruins of the pre-Roman phonecian city of kerkouane in today’s Tunisia boast a bathtub in every home. Thereafter, the level of attention to urban sanitation then went into decline.
In the nearly two millennia between the remarkable water and sewage systems of the ancient world and the work of germ theorists and sanitary engineers in modern in times, there were few advances in urban sanitation. By the mid 19th century large areas of the great cities of the west that currently fly the flag of modern civilization and advancement had become filthy, smelly slums. Until London got its first modern sewer in 1853, inhabitants’ would simply dump their chamber pots in the streets. For obvious reasons, the idea of using water to bear away filth caught on quickly. Over the years, wooden troughs were replaced with terra-cotta piping which in turn gave way to large, more efficient brick and concrete sewers.
Pre-independence Nigeria, especially during the early colonial period the urban centers were countable by the fingers (Lagos, Kano, Ibadan, Sokoto, Benin, Zaria, etc.), mostly relic capitals of the ancient caliphates and empires of old. Even then the traditional pit toilets and dumping of refuse at nearby paths were common sanitation practices these methods were not different but rather most prominent in the rural settings of the time. Worst still defecation in open spaces and streams.
Independence, eliticism and boost in commerce and agriculture and later oil economy gave rise to wealth and proliferation of urban settlements and services in Nigeria and later the specific need for institutional sanitation due to increasing number of institutions. Institutional sanitation became more expedient given the peculiarities of most institutions and the need for efficiency and effectiveness insanitation services and diseases prevention. Institutional Sanitation has today assumed an indispensable aspect of our national sanitation system in Nigeria.
Traditionally Sanitation refers to the provision of facilities and services for the safe disposal of human urine and feces. It is also explained as the hygiene means of promoting health through prevention of human contact with hazard of wastes (physical, microbiological and chemical). It involves the maintenance of hygienic conditions, through services such as garbage collection and waste disposal. 
However, the modern application of sanitation includes such other preventive interventions food, drinking water, building construction etc (thus, food sanitation, water sanitation, building sanitation etc).

An institution is a complete property and its building, facilities, and services, having a social, education, or religious purpose. This  include schools, colleges or universities, hospitals, nursing homes, homes for the aged, jails and prison, reformations, and various types of welfare, mental and detention homes or facilities most institutions are communities unto themselves. They have certain characteristics in common that require careful planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance. In considering institutional sanitation certain important factors need to given prominence:
1.  Site Selection
-      Sub soil investigation (valley, wetland, land fill)
-       Location (proximity to sources of noise, air pollution e.t.c)
2.  Water supply
-      Safe and potable water
-      Water for fire protection
-      Water for other uses e.g. sanitation, gardening
3.  Sewage disposal
-      Sewers/waste water disposal
-      Excrete Disposal system
-      Drainages/storm water disposal system
4.  Solid waste disposal system
5.  Food preparation and service facilities etc.
For the purpose of the presentation we are going to consider the sanitation needs of university only.
The national policy guidelines on school sanitation of 2005 do not have universities and other tertiary institutions in focus. However, the essential element of school hygiene and sanitation is captured. For university sanitation programme the requirements and approach is more complex since it may incorporate a full spectrum of facilities and services not unlike a community. In addition to basic facilities such as water supply, swage and other waste water disposal, plumbing, solid waste management, and air quality, are control of food preparation and services, housing, clinic or dispensary, swimming pool, radiation installations and radioisotopes, insect and rodent infestation, and safety and occupational health in structures, laboratories and works areas including fire safety, electrical hazards, noise, and hazardous materials. in view of their complexity and their affect on life and health, universities and by extension other tertiary institutions should have a professionally trained environmental health and safety officer and staff responsible for the enforcement of standards and routine monitoring and inspections of the areas of concern. In the context of Nigeria universities, an ideal inspection checklist form shall take cognizance of the following areas of critical sanitation concern:

1.  Water supply
a.   Quality meets local drinking water standards
b.  Supply adequate for population (8 gallons per capital per day)
c.   Water system (pipe borne, boreholes e.t.c) potable and approved
d.  Adequate protection for drinking water
e.   Clean/ storage and distribution system
f.    Routine quality monitoring

2.  Sewage and Toilet facilities
a.   Adequate number of toilets (1.33ration)
b.  Wash hand basins
c.   Bathroom/shower adequate
d.  Treatment meet stream standard
e.   Qualified plumber
f.     Clean, convenient, free from odors, ventilated and well drained facilities.
3.  Solid waters
a.   Garbage storages and collection
b.  Refuge, collection (sorting)
c.   Disposal method satisfactory
4.  Swimming pool and bathing beach
a.   Life-Saving equipment and life guards
b.  Adequate clarity
c.   Adequate treatment
5.  Dietary
a.   Food source approved
b.  Dry storage clean
c.   Food preparation, handling, cooking proper
d.  Food service temperature and protection satisfactory
e.   Utensil and equipment condition clean and satisfactory
f.    Hand washing facilities adequate and convenient
6.  Structure and grounds
a.   Locations suitable
b.  Buildings and grounds well drained
c.   Accessible by emergency vehicles
d.   Service entrance convenient
e.   Elevators serve all floors
7.  Housing and safety
a.   Rooms clean, lighted and ventilated
b.   Fire escape from rooms
c.   Adequate space for occupancy
d.  Insect and rodent control effective
e.   Cleans bedding
f.    Fire protection adequate
g.   Radiation safety measure where applicable
8.  Aesthetics and general safety
a.   Clean lawns and structures
b.  Weed control and flower beds
c.   Lighting of corridors and ventilation
d.   Control of any danger item or situation.

In discussing the problems of institutional sanitation, it is safer that some critical aspects that govern the efficacy of sanitation are appraised, especially in the context of institutional policies, funding and the attitude of the university community.
University policies:
Some universities may not have efficient policy guidelines of facilities actions for effective institutional sanitation. How is sanitation to be managed? What facilities are to be made available? What scheme should be entrenched etc are issues that border on policy. The university ought to have clear cut policy and guidelines on very component of the university sanitation program. For the purpose of clarity, the following components are most important:
Excreta Disposal: The practice of open-air defection is ritualized and bound in some traditions. However, the university community is unique considering the diverse culture and traditions that make it up. It is therefore important to have a guideline on excreta disposal. The guideline will spell out the viable methods, the management/maintenance of the facilities and most cost effective disposal options.
Food Sanitation: The important of food hygiene cannot be over emphasized. Many diseases can be spread through poor food hygiene practices. Most catering services in our universities have been contracted for management by the private sector. Often times there is no certainty of the source of the food, method of handling, preparation and even the utensils used in preparation and service of food. A guideline on university food sanitation program is very important. The caterers need to be guided on the standards of personal hygiene, cleaning of utensils, and quality of water for cooking and washing and periodic medical examination of  food handlers. Clandestine sources of food to the university must be checked and avoided.
Cleaning Services and refuse collection:
Most universities as a matter of policy contract cleaning services to companies. However, most companies are not properly guide with required standards of operation. Example, the need sorting at the collection point the use of standard refuses receptacles and standard equipment for operation etc. All these border on sound policy and guidelines for operation.
All too often latrines built can be broom cupboards or goat sheds most probably due to non-use poor maintenance culture. Latrine users for example, that liter the surrounding or refuse to flush that water carriage (W. C) facility make it difficult for other to use. The chronic scarcity of water supply in most institutions make it difficult for availability of water for sanitation services such as flush water for water carriage (W.C) systems. That should information the authorities on the need for most viable alternatives to affect sanitation.
Education and awareness are very important strategies to making institution sanitation effective. Members of the university community across stake must be made aware of their role in sanitation, the vision and mission of the university sanitation program and the actions expected of each one of them. This very critical to positive attitude to sanitation. Groups societies in the institutions.
Funding is very critical to effective sanitation program in institutions. For every policy and program of sanitation in the institutions must as a matter of priority be adequately funded to achieve the desire result. Perhaps, a budget line to sustain sanitations is most desirable. Where funding is too limited, assistance can be sort from donors or partners especially in the provision of infrastructure.

With the advent of a regulatory institution for environment health practice in Nigeria (EHORECON), matters of sanitation including institutional sanitation have hope of being streamlined and made more effective.
So far, cleaning services in most universities is being contracted and the council has a regulatory framework and enforcement mechanism in place for cleaning services providers in Nigeria.
Professional sanitations across the country are also increasingly being motivated take on private practice in areas of sanitation which include institutional sanitation for better and more effective sanitation regimes in the country. The future looks brighter for institutional sanitation than ever.

Joseph A. Salvato, P.E (1982) Environmental Engineering and Sanitation 3rd Edition. A. Wiley-Inter-science publication, NY
National environmental sanitation policy (2005), FMoE   

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