Harpic has celebrated the 2021 World Toilet Day with a joint commemorative event in partnership with the Federal Ministries of Water Resources and Environment and the Lagos State Ministry of Environment with the refurbishment of five public toilets donated to different communities in Lagos State.
World Toilet Day is an official United Nations global observance day celebrated annually on 19 November to inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis. The theme for 2021, ‘Valuing Toilets’ is aimed at drawing attention to the fact that “toilets, and the sanitation systems that support them, are underfunded, poorly managed or neglected in many parts of the world, with devastating consequences for health, economics, and the environment”.
The United Nations states that 3.6 billion people worldwide do not have a toilet and this has increased the global hazard of open defecation, with an estimated 46 million people practicing open defecation in Nigeria. The danger of open defecation greatly affects various economies, with the economic impact of poor sanitation in Nigeria, estimated at N455 billion lost annually.
The toilet refurbishment and product donation by Harpic is in line with its brand’s purpose which is to help Nigerians get access to hygienically clean toilets. The newly refurbished public toilets are located at Lagos Island, Mushin, Bariga/ Iyana Oworo, Iyana Ipaja, and Iyana Isolo within Lagos State.
Speaking, Marketing Director, Reckitt Sub Saharan Africa, Tanzim Rezwan stated: “When people in a community do not have safe toilets, everyone’s health is threatened. Poor sanitation contaminates drinking water sources, rivers, beaches, and food crops, spreading diseases. Over the years, Harpic has been a champion in providing access to hygienic sanitation solutions in Nigeria, and it is the reason our communication has been on education on the importance of toilet hygiene and sanitation to drive behavioural change.
“It is our aim that the toilet refurbishment will impact the lives of people and the environment in the community. It is also about taking action to tackle the global sanitation crisis and achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030. We appeal to the communities where these toilets are situated to preserve and look after the toilets because it relates to their health”.
Speaking at the 2021 World Toilet Day commemoration event in Abuja in collaboration with Reckitt and other key stakeholders, Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Hassan Musa commended the effort of the private sector in the provision of toilet facilities across the country. He further challenged them to do more in order to prevent diseases that come with open defecation.
Honourable Minister of Water Resources, Sulaimon Hussein Adamu highlighted the progress recorded so far in the ‘Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet Campaign.’ He appreciated development partners and asked them to continue to strengthen the collaboration with the government to ensure Nigeria is Open Defecation Free (ODF) by 2025 or before.
Honourable Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Lagos state, Tunji Bello, represented by Special Adviser, Drainage and Water Resources, Joe Igbokwe, applauded Reckitt for its continued collaboration with the state government. “Ladies and gentlemen, as we commemorate this day, I want to thank our main sponsor, Reckitt, for its continued collaboration with the state government on this annual event and also other partners for their support.” He said.
Over the past five years, Reckitt through its Harpic brand has taken the responsibility of driving awareness on hygienic toilets through the Door to Door program that educates consumers on the need for proper sanitation, training them on how to ensure a clean hygienic toilet and has also driven access to the products by selling it at a discount, in addition, they have also donated over 150 public toilet units to communities in Nigeria as a commitment to driving safe sanitation awareness.