One of the major challenges that continue to bedevil Ghana’s quest to attain its development goals is Sanitation. The country has over the years fought the battle to improve its sanitation, but very little has been achieved.
During the president’s recent encounter with the press he outlined some of the sanitation challenges facing the country and pointed out some measures in curbing them. On Tuesday, December 12, 2018, he reiterated again that the ban on galamsey (illegal mining)was never intended to be permanent. It was to enable Government fashion a policy that would sanitize the sector, and ensure that, in future, small-scale mining, which has been with us for centuries, would not damage our environment.
He also promised to protect the environment by bringing rapid development to the people. According to him, “one thousand (1,000 )units of 10-seater water closet institutional toilets with mechanized borehole were under construction around the country, and so were one thousand(1,000)community-based limited solar powered mechanized water systems.”All this effort that was put in place by Akufo-Addo was till in vain since Ghana is still facing this hardship.
This insanitary conditions is hard and dry and has affected many innocent souls .On March 19 2015, Ghana recorded disease outbreak such as cholera leading to the death of many people because of the same insanitary conditions.
20,500 cases of cholera were recorded in the Greater Accra Region between June 2014 and February 2015.Out of the figure, 121 deaths were recorded, which became the single largest outbreak of cholera in the history of Ghana.
People don’t appreciate the fact that the quality of the environment they find themselves in has a bearing on their very existence as human beings and as such the environment must be protected against all forms of diseases.
On Thu,20 Jul 2017,Ghana was ranked as the lowest in sanitation and is still the lowest till date.
According to United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Chief of Water Sanitation and Hygiene(WASH)David Duncan, Ghana is one nation which is low in terms of access to sanitation worldwide and that it was rather ironic she sunk lower than countries recovering from wars. Political will is the challenge and not household wealth, a change in behaviour and not only constructing toilets,” he said.
Stakeholders must therefore take challenging decisions and make sanitation paramount in all policies because this sanitation challenges will sweep Ghanaians away if care is not taken.
Thousands of children die from diarrhoea and the nation lost about 290 and 79 million dollars annually to poor sanitation and open defecation in 2017.Open defecation rate is increasing rapidly day by day and it will take Ghana about 500 years to become Open Defecation Free (ODF).With this open defecation which is now a new style in town, it will be very difficult to stop people from practising such shameful act.
Much effort has been made by Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and Sanitation Taskforce as well as President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who even have plans of making Accra the cleanest city in Africa. Ghanaians are patiently waiting to witness the day Accra becomes second paradise because several government have tried solving this sanitation situation but nothing has been accomplished yet since Ghanaians are still swimming in it. But we hope Akufo-Addo changes everything since he has made a promise to resolve these challenges.
AMA on the other hand tried their possible best to eliminate filth in the country. As part of elimination of filth, they unveiled ten mechanical street sweepers procured by waste management giants Zoomlion Ghana Limited.AMA in partnership with Zoomlion and other sanitation entities are willing to fight this course fully and eliminate filth from the country once and for all.
They want Ghana to be transformed to attain environmental cleanliness but they can’t do this alone without the public giving a helping hand to kick this environmental crisis away.
Ghana has become engulfed in filth. Almost every street and gutter in our communities is choked with solid and liquid waste.
There is so much negligence and no show of concern when people are disposing off refuse generated at homes and workplaces. It’s now time Ghanaians stop littering the environment for their own good as it is the cause of many diseases and floods.
There have been several measures by successive governments to curb this national menace have not yielded the desired results.
As I said earlier on, the AMA together with Zoomlion Company Limited have tried several means to stop these ignorant people from littering around but all to square one.
Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA )on Tues,3 Apr 2018 inaugurated and deployed sanitation taskforce officers to enforce sanitation by-laws on the streets, communities and in all homes in Accra. The sanitation taskforce was expected to work day and night and arrest and prosecute people who throw refuse indiscriminately on the streets, in their communities and people who have no dustbins in their homes. The Mayor of Accra, Mohammed Adjei Sowah, who inaugurated the taskforce in Accra assured Ghanaians that anyone caught dumping water sachets or any kind of rubbish on the streets carelessly would be picked instantly for prosecution.
The AMA enforcement drive had no political colour and would be enforced to the latter, as the sanitation issues in Accra was mainly an attitudinal problem.
This insanitary conditions is very disturbing and what happened in June 3, 2015 is a clear example of our ignorance. Ghanaians must sacrifice their all to help make Ghana clean. Cleanliness they say is next to Godliness and keeping our environment clean is our responsibility.
Even though government are putting up their possible best to end these environmental challenges such as dumping refuse haphazardly and open defecation, it’s left with Ghanaians to make sure it comes to past. Sanitation is one thing we must be mindful of because “Environmental care is our responsibility.”
ADAMS EDITH APONSUA
Ghana Institute of Journalism