Nigerian government has been advised to leverage the abundant coastal opportunities to create employment and expand business activities across the country.
The admonition came as the World marks World Water Day with the theme “Better Water, Better Jobs.”
Issues on water management and provision of cleaner water for sustainable development were also addressed.
The Director of Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development, Leslie Adogame says United Nation’s move to continue with the campaign was to ensure that countries harness the natural resources for development and well being of the people.
Adogame stated that the United Nation’s quest to ensure a meaningful living which could be achieved through adequate and safer water led to the continuous campaign.
“For UN to recognize how important water is, with focus on humans, it has decided to set out a day for the world to pay attention to water, in order to create consciousness on the need to preserve water and not to pollute water and to ensure available of good water for the sustenance of mankind,” Adogame said.
He explains that many states government in Nigeria have failed to explore opportunities embedded in water for development.
“We are in an era where government is looking at so many things. What is most amazing is that, apart from Lagos State government, I do not know any of the states especially those in the coastal areas that understand that we can create and improve on agriculture through good water network.”
Adogame, who heads an NGO on Water and the Environment, says besides the enormous benefits inherent in water, it could also serve as a form of employment.
“Beyond the fact that water is part of life, either in washing, cooking, cleaning or for industrial process, water could also be a major source of employment,” Adogame stated.
According to the United Nations Agency on water and sanitation, about 650 million people, one in every 10, of the world’s population, do not have access to safe water, putting them at risk of infectious diseases and premature death.
The UN agency says dirty water and poor sanitation caused severe diarrhea diseases in children, killing an estimated 900 children under age five everyday across the world, which means that one child dies every two minutes.
Pre-requisite for the economy
An environmental expert, Bunmi Ogunfolu said water is pre-requisite to the development of some sectors of the economy, such as agriculture, energy and the ecosystem.
Ogunfolu noted that, “water and jobs are inextricably linked at various levels, either from an economic, environmental or social perspective.”
On the Sustainable Development Goal on water which states that there should be clean and accessible water for all before 2030; a public analyst, Jijoho Oba canvassed for government and private sector involvement to ensure the former Millennium Development goal on water which is now sustainable goal is achieved.
The public analyst added that there is sufficient fresh water on the planet to achieve the goal but bad economies and poor infrastructure are likely to affect its success.
An agricultural Scientist, Tope Bamidele said government has some policies on water development which has trickledown effect on agriculture, stressing that the only problem was the implementation.
Bamidele, however, urged the Nigerian government to show political will and ensure developmental policies on water protection and generation is achievable for the betterment of the people.
To achieve better water and better jobs, the stakeholders want governments at all levels, through their ministries to make laws prohibiting water pollution, safeguard jobs and businesses relying on good quality water-bodies and making natural habitats better for wildlife.