Harzadous waste: Residents of Lagos highbrow areas might be consuming their own faeces

by Adeola Balogun

The popular saying, “The rich also cry” has been found to apply to many residents of popular highbrow areas in Lagos State.

According to recent investigations conducted, the inhabitants of posh areas such as Lekki, Ikoyi and Victoria Island might be drinking up their own faeces.

This conclusion was arrived at after it was discovered that water gotten from homes in that area was mostly impure with a large number of houses having septic tanks at the same level with their boreholes.

Nigerian Eye reports:

A new finding has revealed that residents who use water from boreholes constructed within their compounds in these areas might unknowingly be drinking or using water contaminated with their own human wastes.

The Coordinator of the Lagos State Wastewater Office, Mr. Lekan Shodeinde, told our source that the water table in these areas was too shallow, which is why the construction of both septic and borehole in the same compound is a dangerous affair.

Shodeinde said, “A lot of houses in areas like Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Lekki are polluting the water table.

“Those areas are not supposed to put in place septic tanks. In some of these areas, before you dig five feet, you have reached the water table. Now, imagine going to such places to put in place septic tanks which are constructed in such a way that the waste seeps into the ground.

Reporters spoke with a bricklayer, who explained that a standard septic tank could be as deep as 10 feet. Considering the fact that the water table in these coastal areas is comparatively shallow, it is possible that contamination occurs to groundwater sources in some of the places.

Experts say there may be considerable hazard for those who use water sourced from boreholes directly in these areas, or those who do not have water treatment facilities or filters in their homes.

Prof. Ebenezer Meshida of the Geoscience Department of the University of Lagos, who also teaches at the Civil Engineering Department of the Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, said the type of water one can get in most parts of Lekki, Ikoyi, Ajah and Victoria Island, is highly contaminated.

He said, “The water in the region is not expected to be used as drinking water. That type of water can be used to clean your car or flush the toilets. Any water you get around five metres depth is highly dangerous.

The Lagos Water Corporation has always discouraged the sinking of boreholes in the Lagos metropolis but in a city where a large percentage of the residents do not have easy access to pipe borne water, this may be a futile plea.

The Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, has also expressed concern over the proliferation of boreholes in the state, saying they constituted long term environmental problem.

Speaking with some residents of these upscale areas, it turned out that the situation was more pathetic than most people would imagine.

Those who spoke with our source at Victoria Island, explained that the water they get from their boreholes is so bad that it is sometimes totally unusable without being treated.

At Idejo Street, Victoria Island, a house guard, Henry Okoro, went inside his compound and brought out a bowl of water. It looked like one in which brown clay had been dissolved.

“This is the kind of water you get from the borehole here,” he said.

He said a tanker supplies the house with water from another part of Lagos every week.

“Some of these tankers collect N10,000 per supply, some N8,000,” Okoro said.

At Osapa London area of Jakande, Lekki, a resident, Oyebola Ogunsanya, said even though she did not know that septic tanks pollute the water table, she and other residents were not bothered because the water in their borehole is not usable.

She said, “The water in the borehole is like the colour of salt and it is very salty. Even after treatment, it is still not usable. We pay tankers to fill our overhead tanks.

“Apart from the N7,000 I pay to fill the tank which I share with another neighbour in my boys’ quarters, I spend as much as N5,000 weekly on bottled and sachet water. The water from our borehole is just unusable.

“Where I was living before, the water was brownish in colour. You dare not even think about using it to wash, not to think of drinking. What we do is that we treat the water so that it could at least be used to wash clothes and toilets.

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