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2016 World Environment Day: Access to Clean Water Remains a Major Challenge in Nigeria

Abuja, Nigeria. June 7th, 2016 – The World Environment Day (WED) was commemorated on June 5th 2016 with the theme ‘Join the race to make the world a better place’. The celebration which started since 1974 by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has a major focus on environmental sustainability.  Angola was the host country for the 2016 celebration and it was to encourage their effort in seeking to restore its elephant herds, conserve Africa’s biodiversity-rich wildlife, and safe-guard the environment as it continues to rebuild after more than a quarter century of civil war[1]

Also, two days to the World Environmental Day, the Vice President Yemi Osibanjo visited Ogoni land to flag off the ‘Ogoni clean-up’campaign. The clean-up of the heavily polluted Ogoni land was in response to the recommendation given by the United Nation Environmental Program, UNEP, in its report in 2011. The campaign was to ensure thatthe regulators of oil industry carry out their responsibilities in line with global best practices while avoiding water pollution and destruction of aquatic ecology[2].

Water is an essential and the most important part of our environment after oxygen. Most diseases and illnesses are as a result of poor sanitation and dirty or polluted waters. Access to clean water in Nigeria has remained an important issue when it comes to basic amenities. Over 57 million Nigerians do not have access to clean water in Nigeria while 130 million people don’t have access to adequate sanitation; this is two-thirds of the population. Also around 68,000 children under five years old die every year from diarrhea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation[3].

In view of the world environment day celebration, NOIPolls Limited presents a throwback poll on ‘access to clean water’ conducted in March 2015, as a follow up to the one conducted in February 2013 to ascertain the sources of and level of access to clean water in Nigeria.

Excerpts of Findings from NOIPolls’ Access to Clean Water poll.  

Results showed that most Nigerians mainly indicated ‘pure water’ (29 percent) as the major source of drinking water in their homes. This is followed by respondents who cited ‘tap water’ (18 percent) ‘private borehole’ (17 percent), ‘public borehole’ (14 percent), and ‘bottled water’ (8 percent) as their main source of drinking water amongst other sources.

Analysis by geo-political zone revealed that the North-Central (37 percent) zone accounted for the largest proportion of Nigerians whose source of drinking water is pure water, the North-East zone (41 percent) for tap water and the South-East zone (33 percent) accounted for the largest proportion of Nigerians who mentioned private boreholes as their source of drinking water.

When the 2015 results were compared with findings obtained in 2013, a 2-points increase was revealed in the proportion of Nigerians who use pure water as their main source of drinking water. (Also there was  a decline in the proportion of Nigerians who use private bore holes (8-points) and bottled water (11-points) as well as a corresponding increase in the proportion of Nigerians who use tap water (7-points) and public bore holes (8-points)  in accessing drinking water for their homes.

The poll also revealed that almost half of the respondents (48 percent) affirmed that access to clean water is a challenge to them and their household with majority of respondents from this group representing the North-East zone (69 percent), while 52 percent of the Nigerians surveyed revealed that access to clean water is not a challenge to them and their household; with a larger share of the respondents from this category representing the South-West zone (66 percent). Trend analysis showed a slight 1-point increase in the proportion of respondents who indicated that access to clean water is a challenge to them in 2015 from 2013 (47 percent).

The poll also sought to evaluate sanitation facilities used by Nigerians and findings revealed that toilets connected to private septic tanks were the most used sanitation facilities as reported by the larger proportion (74 percent) of Nigerians, whereas, 22 percent confirmed they use pit latrine at their homes. Also, 2 percent indicated their sanitation facility is connected to the public sewage system and this was only obtainable in the North-Central zone.

More analysis by geo-political zone indicated that the South-East and the South-South zone accounted for the highest number of respondents (93 percent) who indicated their sanitation facility is connected to private septic tanks, while the North-East zone (43 percent) and the North West zone (45 percent) had the largest proportion of Nigerians who indicated the use of pit latrine.

Trend evaluation showed an 11-points increase in the percentage of respondents who reported they use pit latrines and a 5-points decline in the proportion of Nigerians whose toilets are connected to private septic tanks in 2015 from 2013.

In conclusion, the poll results revealed that most Nigerians relied on  ‘pure water’ (29 percent) as their major source of drinking water in their homes, while others mentioned the use of  ‘tap water’ (18 percent) and ‘private borehole’ (17 percent) amongst other means. Also, almost half of the respondents (48 percent) stated that access to clean water was a challenge to them and their household out of which 72 percent of these respondents claimed that this challenge is to a large extent. More findings revealed that toilets connected to private septic tanks are the most used sanitation facility as reported by majority (74 percent) of Nigerians. Moreover, a significant proportion of Nigerians 22 percent use pit latrine in their homes amongst other facilities.

Finally, in reflection on this years’ world environmental day, it is pertinent for the above data be used by the responsible agencies for more proactive approach in ensuring adequate access to clean water and sanitation facilities, while sensitizing Nigerians on  the importance of proper sanitation and water hygiene in order to minimize hygiene related health issues in Nigeria.

Survey Methods

The opinion poll was conducted in the week 2rd March 2015. It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample. 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical zones in the country, were interviewed. With a sample of this size, we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained are statistically precise – within a range of plus or minus 3%.

NOIPolls Limited is the No1 for country specific polling services in West Africa. We conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at


This press release has been produced by NOIPolls Limited to provide information on all issues which form the subject matter of the document. Kindly note that while we are willing to share results from our polls with the general public, we only request that NOIPolls be acknowledged as author whenever and wherever our poll results are used, cited or published.

NOIPolls hereby certifies that all the views expressed in this document accurately reflect its views of respondents surveyed for the poll, and background information is based on information from various sources that it believes are reliable; however, no representation is made that it is accurate or complete. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, no responsibility or liability is accepted for errors or fact or for any views expressed herein by NOIPolls for actions taken as a result of information provided in this report. Any ratings, forecasts, estimates, opinions or views herein constitute a judgment as at the date of this document. If the date of this document is not current, the views and content may not reflect NOIPolls’ current findings and/or thinking.

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