Appraisal Of Sanitary Facilities In Public Areas
Public sanitary facilities are crucial infrastructure necessary for the social well-being and practical operation of a functioning city. Human dignity is directly linked to access the safety and hygienic sanitation and this formed one of the strongest indicator of a near perfect city. The research focuses on assessing the adequacy and maintenance of sanitary facilities in Garki districts. Garki as one of the pioneer district in Abuja metropolis, has housed many public institutions like schools, churches, mosques, major shopping centres, motor parks, markets and recreational areas without a decent or functional sanitary facilities. Data for this research were obtained from field using reconnaissance survey, user satisfaction survey and the use of questionnaires.
Findings revealed that public sanitary facilities in these institutions in Garki district are inadequate and substandard in some institutions while in others they are adequate but lack maintenance. In line with the finding, some existing ones are reserved for the VIPs. The research recommend that the authorities concerned should provide more toilet facilities and upgrade those presently available. There should be serious enlightenment to the public on the impending dangers of campaign about the effect of lack of safety and hygienic sanitation and the and also there should be an effective management of public sanitary facilities in FCC Abuja with specific reference to Garki district.
Design of the Study
Public sanitary facilities are crucial infrastructure necessary for the social well-being and practical operation of a city. The provision of public sanitary facilities has implications for public and individual health, transportation, crime preventions, urban design, economic and cultural development and social equity. Public Conveniences i.e. Toilets, Bathrooms, Urinals and Comfort rooms are provided largely in public places and institutions. These places include Markets, Motor Parks, Religious institutions, Mosques, Churches, Filling stations, Hospitals, Airports, Sporting grounds, Schools etc. The right of citizenship access to appropriate public toilets emerged in the west with the rise of modernity.
Prior to the period of enlightenment in Britain, urinating, and defecating was a public act, taking place not only in fields and gardens, but also in the streets. By the mid 19th century however, public toilets were built using the public purse to provide citizens the means to urinate or defecate in public while away from home. It is a long time however since Britain led the world with such public health foresight. In most African cities, public conveniences are lacking in terms of quality and quantity, thus residents and visitors are often left wondering where to “go”. There is therefore a real quality of life crisis looming for all of us – especially the young and older members of society. There is a real concern about both the quantity and quality of public conveniences provision in Abuja and the associated problems this causes for the residents and visitors to the city.
Poor provision impacts increasingly on public health and environmental issues such as street cleanliness, social disorder and infections associated with poorly maintained, or nonexistent of public sanitary facilities. The provision of public conveniences is an important factor in delivering a people friendly environments for both residents and visitors; that is free from communicable diseases attributable to poor sanitation. This study tends to assess the provision of public sanitary facilities in Garki District of Abuja.
1.1 The Research Problem
Abuja, the Federal Capital of Nigeria is the fastest growing city in Africa. With a steady rise in population in the last 10 years, it has recorded an increasing growth due to some socio-economic and political developments. Commercial activities have grown and brought with it greater demand for more basic facilities and services. Facilities already in place are grossly inadequate or over stretched. These facilities include public toilets which are not only in disgusting state but their maintenance and adequacy have been put to question. The city’s administration has done little to address that problem. In the few public toilets (at the parks, markets or at neighborhood shopping complexes), the air is often so foul and wafts out into the surrounding neighborhoods.
In Garki, many public institutions like Schools, Civil Service Offices, Mosques, Churches and Private companies do not have functional and decent toilets. In some cases, the existing ones are either over stretched, too dirty or reserved for VIPs. As a planned new town, this situation is un-usual and raises questions regarding the quality of planning input in the preparation of the FCC master plan or shortcomings during its of implementation. This study examines the sanitary facilities available in public areas of Garki district with particular reference to distribution, adequacy, quality and
accessibility. The findings will be the basis for making recommendations towards improvement. Studies of public conveniences have been carried out for some cities in Nigeria. These include Danmati (1988) in Kano; Tanko (1997) in Kano; Oluwande (1978) on Nigeria; and Abba (2009) in Kano. The emphasis of such mainly on unplanned cities has been informative, but complimentary research is required of planned urban areas to ascertain whether situations are similar or otherwise. The findings will be useful for policy making towards improving sanitary condition in cities.
The aim of the research is to appraise the sanitary facilities in public areas of Garki District as a basis for identifying problems and making recommendations for improvement.
The aim would be achieved through the following objectives.
- To review the concept of sanitation and sanitary facilities and the planning requirements for their provision.
- To review distribution pattern of public sanitary facilities in Garki District.
- Evaluation of available public sanitary facilities in Garki District, Abuja.
- To identify and recommend possible solutions to these problems.
1.4 Scope of the Study
The scope of the study covers Garki District as a case study with particular focus on public areas such as Markets, Motor parks, Religious institutions (i.e. Churches, Mosque) Commercial areas as well as recreational zones of the study area.
1.5 Background to the Study Area
Abuja is located in the centre of Nigeria and has a land area of 8,000 square Kilometers. It is bounded on the north by Kaduna state, on the west by Niger state, on the east and south-east by Nasarawa state and on the south-west by Kogi state. It falls within latitude 7 45′ and 7 39′. The present Suleja was formally known as Abuja, a sparsely populated town with a population of about 500,000 people; it was completely rural with little or no infrastructure until the enactment of Decree No. 6 of1976.
Before the 1976 Decree, a committee (‘The Aguda Panel’)was commissioned to go round the country in search of a suitable location for the New Federal Capital with two major points of reference; a region that is sparsely populated and that is centrally located. And the region now known as Abuja met these requirements and hence became the recommended location for the New Federal Capital. The acceptance of the recommendation of the committee, led to the enactment of Decree No. 6, of 1976, the Federal Capital Territory Act, and this became the blueprint for the re-location of the new Federal Capital from Lagos to Abuja. The town originally known as Abuja was later renamed Suleja, while the name “Abuja” was reserved for the capital-to-be.
The 1979 master plan called for Abuja to be developed in four phases. It estimated a population of about 3 million by the year 2010 and a maximum population of 4 million well into the 21st century. Phase 1 was planned to provide space for 230,000 inhabitantsacross4,000hectaresofland.NearlytheentirePhase1developmenthas
been completed and it includes the following: the Central Business District, the Three Arms Zone (presidency, National Assembly and Supreme Court as well as the Maitama, Wuse, Garki and Asokoro residential and business districts. The Phase 1 area of the city is divided into five (5) districts. They are the Central area, Asokoro, Garki, Wuse and Maitama. There are also five districts in Phase 2(see Appendices). They are Kado, Durumi, Gudu, Utako and Jabi. And the Phase 3 districts are Mabuchi, Katampe, Wuye and Gwarimpa. There are also five suburban districts, which are Gwagwalada, Kubwa, Nyanya, Karu and Jukwoyi. Along the Airport Road on the approach to Abuja City are satellite towns, namely Lugbe, Chika, Kuchigworo and Pyakassa. Other satellite towns are Idu (the main industrial zone), Mpape, Karimu, Gwagwa, andDei-Dei.
Summary and Recommendations
From the surveys carried out, the following summary of findings were established A total of 109 public conveniences were identified in various locations within the study area, all of the public conveniences are located in public places such as shopping areas, markets, recreation centers, places of worship etc. All the public conveniences in the study area are based on the water flushing system. Water is generally obtained from two major sources: the public pipe system and boreholes. The borehole was privately built to supplement the erratic public pipe system; overhead tanks and reservoirs are filled with the water pumps from the boreholes.
Most of the public conveniences available to the public operate below the acceptable standards in terms of the size of cubicle. This is in the context of maximizing of space to achieve more development. The measurement of floor–ceiling height indicates that the floor-ceiling heights of cubicles are generally in compliance with recommended standards of 3-4m. This is due to fact that their toilets are within the building and on each floor.
All the public conveniences are linked to a central sewer system as required by the municipal Authority and based on the provision of the master plan. Generally, conventional sanitary appliances are not installed and none of the 109 public conveniences have latrine and bathing facilities.
The hygienic level of the facilities is poor; the provision of sanitary materials that enhance hygienic condition of the facilities in most of the activity areas are not provided, i.e. soap, air-fresheners / odour neutralizers, clean towels, toilet papers etc.
The relative distances users of conveniences cover are too large. It took users to wait long before locating the public sanitary facility within the district. The relative distances users of conveniences cover are too large. The charges for the toilet use are very low. The charges within the activity area are affordable.
The public conveniences are moderately safe; they are relatively moderate in terms of security especially that male and female conveniences in all the activity areas are separated.
5.1.1 General Recommendation
- Public toilet facilities should be located where it is required and in accordance with the demand. This is to ensure that high quality public sanitary are provided where a critical mass of people requires access to such facilities. The facilities should be located within the distance of 100mts. Dignified mobile toilet system to be adopted in informal and temporary locations. i.e. provision of 5,000 lites to 1,000 litres daily.
- All sanitary facilities should be provided with the reliable and dependable source of water i.e. water board and borehole.
- A public toilet should be built with cubicles size ranging between 2.0-2.5 sqm. This is a recommended standard for size or cubicles as it gives and provide good circulation, movement, alignment and easement.
- Public toilets were to be made available to users at an appointed time. This is peculiar with markets, shopping areas, and Religious places as mostly have specific time of opening and closing. Toilets should be made available to users between 7am and 6pm. This gives caretakers enough time for proper maintenance.
- Public sanitary facilities should be built and managed in accordance with sustainable design principles. Sustainable design sanitation facilities aim to lessen their impact on the environment through energy and resource efficiency. Besides, they will improve the sanitary conditions of the environment.
- Consideration should always be given to the inclusion of the following objectives in the design stage of any public toilets in the study area:
- Minimising of water and non-renewable resource consumption. Effective design eliminates water waste, protection against abuse and opportunities to consider re-use of water. Stormed water may be considered where practical.
- Promoting health and hygiene, through the following.
- Surfaces that are easy to clean
- Absence of areas where dirt, rubbish, might accumulate such as ledges, matched surfaces, easily replaceable damaged fixtures.
- Limited areas for insect, birds, rodents to inhabitant.
- Resistance to graffiti.
- Ease of use of effective methods such as high pressure wash.
- Reducing initial investment cost without spoiling functionality by incorporating features which reduce operation cost such as utilities, maintenance, and replacement of consumables, cleaning, surveillance, opening and closing.
- Meeting the demand of intended users.
- Enhancing of durability of materials and equipment.
- Easy to extend, upgrade and replicate.
- Safe disposal of waste products with focus on possible re-use options.
- Reducing of environmental pollution.
- Providing options to re-use waste products.
- Meeting minimal space requirements.
- Materials used should be durable and resistant to vandalism and neglect.
Examples of good materials:
- Floor: Non-slip ceramic tiles, natural stone, homogeneous tiles, terrazzo, terra floor tiles.
- Wall: Ceramic tiles, natural stone, homogeneous tiles, glass blocks, aluminium panels, phenoliccladding.
- Doors: Wood, steel
This is because carefully selected, durable materials minimise maintenance and prevent misuse. Painted finishes should be avoided, together with any materials, which are affected by moisture or corrosion.
Generally preference should be given to materials that are recycled, recyclable and renewable. Local and/or locally produced materials shall be used to the greatest extend.
- Public toilets should be located to ensure easy access and affordable forall.
- An adequate number of toilet facilities should be provided in the market areas, motor parks and all major commercial areas.
- All public toilet facilities should be fitted with:
- i. Toilet paper.
- ii. Paper towels.
- iii. Soap for handwashing.
- iv. Waste bins inside each male toilet cubicle, sanitary disposal bins in each female toilet cubicle and additional waste bins directly below or in close proximity to the washbasin in each section as well as in the toilet for disabled (if available) as well as in the lobby and outside the sanitation facility.
- v. Suitable air fresheners to promote a fragrant, pleasing environment.
- vi. Sanitizers.
- vii. Small buckets to carry water for anal cleansing.
5.1.2 Specific Recommendation
220.127.116.11 Shopping Areas
In shopping areas the following are recommended in order to facilitate or enhance the function of sanitary uses in the areas. This include:
Construction of Bore holes with reservoirs or overhead tanks to aid the pipe bone water supply in the shopping area. This is critically needed in the large shopping areas of Area 1 and 2, The Murgplaza , in Zumba Plaza at Area 10 and Efab and Garki shopping mall at GarkiII.
Sanitary materials to be provides in the facilities, by the operators or owners of the malls or charges generated through the use of the facility.
Cubicle to be built with acceptable standard size recommended between 2.0 – 2.5sqm. All shopping malls within the District are operating within the recommended cubicle size; this can be easily achieved through enforcement by the development control department through building plan approvals and during execution at site.
18.104.22.168 Motor Parks
Public sanitary facility to be located in all motor parks within the district i.e. the major motor parks within the district e.g. Area 1 and Area 3 and other motor parks have no single sanitary facility. Thus large no of mobile toilet should be provided in order to control and accommodate the large no of inflow of users.
Adequate public facilities should be made available to users for 24 hours in both area 3 and area 1 motor parks as these park are function all day and night.
Bore holes to be constructed with reservoirs and over head tanks to support pipe bone water especially the area 1 and area 3 motor parks.
Sanitary materials to be provided especially in the two major motor parks or Area 1 and Area 3. This can be possible through money generated as a result or use of the facility.
22.214.171.124 Market Places
Public Sanitary facilities to be provided in all market places of Garki 1 and Garki II and its commercial areas and especially Garki village market.
Boreholes to be built / constructed to complement pip bore water supply.
Reservoirs and overhead tanks to be constructed to store water.
Sanitary materials to be provided in the facilities as fund are generated before an intending user is allowed to use the facility
126.96.36.199 Recreational Areas
Public Sanitary facilities to be located in all recreational areas or the district. This will help bridge the problem or distance covered by the user thereby
guaranteeing accessibility. Garki district have several recreational areas ranging from neighbourhood Garden, amusement parks, regional and local parks spreads around the two cadastral zones of the District (Garki 1, GarkiII).
Boreholes to be constructed to support pipe borne water supply and tanks and reservoirs to be used to storewater.
Sanitary materials to be provided by the operators of the recreational facility through funds mostly generated by the visitors or users of thefacility.
188.8.131.52 Religious Places
Borehole to be constructed in the religious places of Garki district. Garki District housed two major religious institutions i.e. the catholic church Area 3 and the central mosque at area 1 due to the large gathering of people at these locations an alternative source of water has to be provided by including boreholes, tanks and reservoirs to store water for the populace visitors and worshippers trooping in day andnight.
Sanitary materials to be provided in all the religious institutions within the district. Funds can be generated by the visitors and worshippers at such centres.
Sanitation as a method of containment and sanitization of human excreta serves an important role of preventing the spread of diseases and protecting both human and environmental health. Thus, the provision of sanitation facilities in the Garki District of the FCC should be one of the focuses in ensuring a healthy environment. This research has confirmed that there is a shortfall in the provisioning of public toilets in the FCC.
There is generally a poor attitude towards maintenance in the Public Conveniences, particularly regular cleaning and use of disinfectants. The practice of using bathroom floor as the urinal in most of the Public Conveniences is highly inappropriate and unhygienic.
The provision of public toilets in the Garki District of the FCC will go a long way in enhancing sanitary habits. Therefore, authorities should ensure the provision and sustainability of sound sanitary practices through the provision of adequate public toilet facilities in the Garki District at the appropriate locations.
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