The news of the ravaging flood is not new to anybody in Bayelsa State, Nigeria and beyond. While the flood is receding; about to recede and increasing in different locations of the state, it is pertinent we take cognizance of our Hygiene, Sanitation and Safety.
Do you know the resultant effect of the flood has a negative environmental impact on our lives, home and habitat? There is danger everywhere and lots of hazards all over the place.
Most of us are only praying for the water to go down without thinking of how to handle our safety, health and all the hazards that abound. Of course the water will go down at the appropriate time, but we must also do the needful in addition to our prayers.
Only yesterday, five (5) persons lost their lives in a canoe mishap. May their souls rest in peace. This is a clear case of safety hazard that exist all over the state. There are many other hazards which we cannot see but can be controlled to a large extent.
In case you don’t know, the flood has un-earthed so much hazardous substances and materials from the earth surface and beneath. Hence, this is a call for all of us to be proactive in managing these environmental contaminants.
Some of the likely waste materials, substances and chemicals transported to our homes and environment include, but not limited to the following:
1. Waste materials from refuse bins.
2. Decomposing animals and dead bodies.
5. Petroleum products.
6. Petroleum waste.
8. Electronic and electrical waste.
9. Industrial waste etc.
Remember, flood is not static and can convey or transport particles, substances and chemicals to any destination within its reach - hundreds and thousands of kilometers or nautical miles away.
Therefore, the following Precautionary measures must be consciously put into put in place to secure our Health, lives, Homes and Environment while the flood last.
1. Don’t drink from un-treated water sources. Avoid drinking directly from river and tap. Boil and treat water before drinking. If possible, drink only NAFDAC approved bottled water.
2. Avoid bathing and playing inside water bodies to avoid drowning or exposure to bacteria.
3. Switch off all power sources in flooded communities to avoid electrocution.
4. Before moving into your house clean-up and disinfect your house. For hard surfaces like concrete floor, use ¼ cup of chlorine bleach in 4 litres of water as a disinfectant.
5. Call in an electrician to check for coherence of the electrical system in your house.
6. Open all doors and windows before commencing clean up.
7. If possible, wear a pair of rubber boots, hand glove and N95 respirator mask during clean up for your protection against unseen germs.
8. Clean and scrub ceramic tiles with detergents.
These are some of the measures required for us to be safe and Healthy. Please follow these precautions to avoid an epidemic outbreak.
GOVERNMENT, NGOs, CHURCHES AND COMMUNITY BASED ORGANISATIONS ARE DOING THEIR BIT, BUT YOU HAVE A GREATER RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND THE ENVIRONMENT.