Water, the neglected commodity of our time

A GNA feature by Godwill Arthur-Mensah
Accra, March 10, GNA – Freshwater is undoubtedly the most essential commodity in the 21st century and it is being used for domestic, commercial and industrial purposes.

However, over the years various socio-economic activities of man have destroyed such a valuable resource, which plays a pivotal role in human survival.

The menace of illegal mining popularly called galamsey had polluted the country’s major rivers, streams, lakes and underground water sources.

Mrs Margaret Macauley, the Chief Manager of the Water Quality Assurance Department of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), told journalists at the launch of this year’s World Water Day in Accra that most of the Company’s water treatment plants had come under threat in recent years as a result of societal pressures.

Some of these key drivers and societal pressures that impacted negatively on the water resources included rapid population growth, bad economic policies and unregulated agricultural practices.

Others are rapid urbanisation, climate variability and change, indiscriminating discharge of wastewater into the environment and ineffective enforcement of environmental and sanitation laws, as well as encroachment on water bodies and discharge of untreated industrial waste.

According to her, these societal pressures affected the Company’s ability to discharge its core mandate effectively.

She said the GWCL currently operated 93 water supply systems with an average production of 874,496m3/day with potable water demand estimated at 1,131,818m3/day, while the demand shortfall estimated at 257,322.18m3/day.

With regard to access to drinking water in the country, Mrs Macauley indicated that the urban water supply coverage was estimated at 85 per cent and the rural water coverage estimated at 76 per cent while the national water supply coverage was pegged at 80 per cent.

Moreover, she said, the Company had to grapple with numerous operational challenges as a result of inadequate management of water and wastewater in the country.

According to her, these challenges had deteriorated raw water quality and water sources resulting in high chemical consumption for water treatment and operational losses, as well as frequent unscheduled shut downs, high maintenance cost, reduction in life span of water treatment plants, low revenue generation to recover cost and threat to public health.

Currently, she said, some water treatment plants such as Kibi, Osino and Anyinam on the Birim River in the Eastern Region, Abesim on the Tano River in the Brong -Ahafo Region and Daboase on River Pra in the Western Region, had been suspended in view of the activities of illegal mining, while water supply to the coverage areas affected.

According to her, a number of other water treatment plants are under similar threats and at the verge of shutting down to protect plants installation and public health.

Mrs Macauley said if these threats were not checked and addressed holistically, it would jeopardise the Company’s quest to attain the economic freedom desired as a nation.

Due to rapid global growth, accelerated urbanisation and economic development, the quantity of wastewater generated and its overall pollution load had increased globally.

She said wastewater management had been seriously neglected, adding that wastewater management had been grossly undervalued as a potentially affordable and sustainable resources.

The 2017 United Nations Water Factsheet indicates that, globally, more than 80 per cent of the wastewater generated flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or re-used.

It is also estimated that 1.8 billion people use a source of drinking water contaminated with faecal maters, putting them at the risk of contracting diseases such as cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. Unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene caused 842,000 deaths each year.

According to her, the opportunities for exploiting wastewater as a resource were enormous because safely managed wastewater could serve as an affordable and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients and other recoverable materials.

As a nation, we must ensure systematic reduction in the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increase recycling and safe re-use of both liquid and solid waste.

A large proportion of wastewater generated was discharged directly into the environment without or with very little treatment because the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies that were responsible for waste management lacked the capacity to manage them effectively.

There must be pragmatic steps to improve the sources of water by reducing pollution, eliminate dumping of liquid and solid waste as well as minimise the release of hazardous chemicals and materials into water bodies.

Mr Macauley said most of the wastewater treatment plants were dysfunctional therefore partially treated wastewater were discharged back to the environment, which could negatively affect the ecosystem and pose a health risk to the surrounding communities.

Water has to be carefully managed throughout the various paths of the water cycle from fresh water abstraction, pre-treatment, treatment, distribution, use, collection of grey water, post-treatment, re-use of the treated wastewater, and its ultimate return to the environment, ready to be abstracted to start the cycle again, she stated.

The United Nations General Assembly in 2010 explicitly recognised universal access to water as a human right and considered it as one of the most important issues of the 21st century.

Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of Water Resources Commission, Mr Benjamin Ampomah has called on stakeholders to tackle the menace of illegal mining with much seriousness instead of paying lip service to the problem.

He said water was a valuable resource that played an essential role in human survival therefore perpetrators of illegal mining must be made to face the full rigours of the law.

Mr Abdul-Nashiru Mohammed, the Country Director of WaterAid, said 3,600 children die every year worldwide out of diarrhoea as a result of poor quality of water consumed by them and bad sanitation practices.

She said children lose instructional hours at school because they spent valuable time searching for water while teenage girls stayed out of school because their schools lacked menstrual hygiene facilities.

The country had good water management policies but institutional arrangements are elaborate, which have constrained their effective implementation therefore the WaterAid Country Director called for strict enforcement of such policies.

According to him, there must be serious funding of water management challenges while metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies are empowered to deal with wastewater at the local level.

In addition, he said the assemblies must enact bye-laws to deal decisively with water pollution offenders in order to serve as deterrent to others while the civil society organisations engage with the government, traditional authorities and other stakeholders to find solution to the water challenges.

The World Water Day is celebrated by the international community on the 22nd of March each year, to draw attention to the importance of freshwater and advocate the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

The theme for this year’s World Water Day celebration is: ‘Water and Waste Water,’ therefore provides an important opportunity for all stakeholders to learn more about how wastewater can be a valuable resource to the country’s economy and how it’s safe management would aid in investment as well as the health of the populace and the ecosystem.

Some activities earmarked for the celebration include public awareness creation through radio and television discussions, editorials, writing of feature articles, radio news commentaries and special in-depth news interviews.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Ghana’s Environmental Sanitation Policy; Have We Made Progress?

By: Francis Diawuo,

Chocked Gutters and Stagnant Wasters producing unsavory odour

 

The National Environmental Sanitation Policy (NESP) was prepared by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. It was approved by Cabinet at its meeting held on Thursday 8th April, 1999 and revised in 2010 to redirect the country’s efforts to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The policy was approved by Cabinet at its meeting of 31st March 2010, with various directives towards achieving desired environmental sanitation standards. Environmental Sanitation was identified in Ghana’s programme of economic and social development in “Vision 2020” as a key element underlying health and human development. It identifies aspects of improved management of human settlements and environmental protection as key factors.

Consistent with the national socio-economic development frameworks such as GPRSII, MDGs and the Accra Agenda for Action (AAA) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the overall goal of the Environmental Sanitation Policy was to develop and maintain a clean, safe and pleasant physical environment in all human settlements, to promote the social, economic and physical well-being of all sections of the population. Achieving this height, the following policy objectives were outlined; (a) Collection and sanitary disposal of wastes, including solid wastes, liquid wastes, excreta, industrial wastes, health care and other hazardous wastes; (b) Storm water drainage; (c) Cleansing of thoroughfares, markets and other public spaces; (d) Control of pests and vectors of disease; (e) Food hygiene; (f) Environmental sanitation education; (g) Inspection and enforcement of sanitary regulations; (h) Disposal of the dead; (i) Control of rearing and straying of animals; (j) Monitoring the observance of environmental standards.

By the year 2020, the NESP is expected to have achieved the following;

  1. National Environmental Sanitation Day is established by legislation and observed regularly;
  2. All solid wastes generated in urban areas are regularly collected and disposed of in adequately controlled landfills or by other environmentally acceptable means;
  3. All pan latrines are phased out (by 2010);
  4. At least 90% of the population has access to an acceptable domestic toilet and the remaining 10% has access to hygienic public toilet.
  5. The majority of environmental sanitation services are provided by the private sector.

Successes of the National Environmental Sanitation Policy (NESP)

The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey of 2012 indicated that 71% of the population is using improved variety of household latrines ranging from flush toilets connected to sewer or septic tanks, VIP latrines and pit latrines with slabs. It also reported a high percentage of usage of improved facilities in urban areas (about 83%) as against less than 45% for rural areas. Data from the draft report on 5th Round of the Ghana Living Standards Survey (GLSSV) gives coverage of 26.6% and 21.9% in 2006 for urban and rural areas respectively, while the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (DHS, 2008) gave a coverage of improved sanitation facilities of 11.3%.The MDG target of reducing by half the proportion of people without access to improved water has been achieved ahead of time. The establishment of institutions proposed initially by the policy and healthy partnership with private sector agencies in the management of waste is a success. Though sanitation problems still exist, there has been an improvement over the 1999 figures in terms of service provision. However, these statistics though seem favourable, most of the proposed outcomes and objectives of the policy are still yet to be achieved.

Efficiency of the National Environmental Sanitation Policy (NESP)

The carefully drafted and well purposed sanitation policy of Ghana is battling to live beyond theory. Although responsibilities have been assigned to individuals, local communities and private firms, the average Ghanaian only realizes the existence of these responsible bodies in terms of cost, but not benefits. Most Ghanaians do not even know the existence of such policies. The flaws in ensuring environmental sanitation could be analyzed with reference to services such as water supply, drainage systems and more importantly solid waste management, etc. A careful look at the linkage between the MDGs and now the SDGs reveals that environmental sustainability is outstanding in development. Although the Government of Ghana is committed to the principles of the MDGs, SDGs and other development frameworks, such commitments have all but failed.

The efficiency of environmental sanitation services to a large extent is contingent on their reliability and regularity of service provision. The issue of direct cost recovery from users pursued by service providers is usually seen as a burden by the consumer. The policy specifies that where full direct cost recovery is not possible, the shortfall or the cost of any service not charged for shall be subsidized by the Assembly. A major problem in this regard, however is how to generate revenue to cover the cost of sanitation services by the Assembly. The policy sanctions the use of the Polluter-Pays Principle to correspond with the cost of restoring environmental damage, however this is hardly practiced. The willingness to pay for sanitation services is a general problem. People prefer to use illegal dumping sites to paying for collection. Due to the difficulty in recovering cost in most cases, the public has entrusted most sanitation provision mandates to private sector agencies such as Zoomlion Ghana Limited, etc. These entities, however tend to skew their services to individuals or communities who can afford, but not to those who really need the services.

Few years ago, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development began what was called the National Sanitation Day on the first Saturday of every month in fulfilment of the NESP. Although the whole idea was laudable and intended to arouse the consciousness and desire of people to live clean, it was seen by many Ghanaians as a ‘political gimmick’. But wait, may be it was a political gimmick after all because the ‘National Sanitation Day’ was marred with corruption, politicization and lukewarmness from Ghanaians. Our lack of commitment as citizens to sanitation issues is making our environment dirtier every blessed day. Unequivocally, I can say that the state of Ghana’s environmental sanitation is dirt, filth, obscenity, indecency and trash; waste everywhere. Our gutters are chocked with plastics and stagnant waters, streets are dirty with gibberish, and fly-tipping is rampantly on the riser. The implications of this is stench, unsavory odour and sickness. The Assemblies are not able to collect and dispose of waste materials in the most appropriate ways regularly as premised in the policy.

Access to hygienic toilet facilities in Ghana is unpalatable. The easiest way for people to defecate in Ghana is through open defecation. Open defecators usually cite the lack of finances, insufficient funds, “too expensive,” or “don’t have money” as key barriers to building latrines or making improvements on their toilet facilities. Ghana is ranked the second country in Africa for open defecation with a whopping five million and over of Ghanaians without access to any toilet facility. In the Upper East, Northern and Upper West regions of the country, 89%, 72% and 71% of people respectively are without access to any toilet facilities, hence resort to open defecation. These among other unaccounted problems are bringing the country’s environmental situation back to where it began.

So, have we as a country made progress in achieving the objectives of the National Environmental Policy? To me the successes of the policy though commendable cannot match the lacuna of problems that are still unresolved. Maybe you can be the best Judge!

Recommendations on the Environmental Sanitation Policy

A Change in Popular Attitudes
The Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy II (GPRS II) noted that lack of self-discipline is the cause of most sanitation related problems (such as improper disposal of waste) the country is facing. The throwing of plastic waste “anywhere” by Ghanaians without due regards to the physical environment need to be curtailed. Effective public sensitization could be adopted to change the irresponsible behaviour of some people towards the environment. People need to be educated on the need to respect and value environmental resources. Maybe the problems are already existing but changing our attitudes towards environmental resources, stopping indiscriminate felling of trees, planting more trees, recycling and reusing waste materials can help curtail the problems. Without these, our common resources will continue to be imperil by users.

Proper Auditing/Strengthening of Environmental related Institutions;

Prior to the introduction of the policy some institutions were established to facilitate the achievement of policy objectives. However, some of these institutions are so dormant in carrying out their mandates. Wrong people are placed at right positions in some instances. There is the need to formulate mechanisms for regular auditing especially at the MMDAs and other public agencies in their efforts towards achieving policy objectives.

Intensify Public-Private Partnerships (PPP)

A major challenge of the sanitation policy is funding. This has prompted the partnership with private agencies which have had their fair share of criticisms especially in economic sense. Soliciting donor support, formulating strategies to generate funds internally by various Assemblies, among other alternatives can be adopted to supplement government allocations.

Introduction of on-the-spot fines
Popular attitudes towards sanitation and common pool resources in general could be curtailed by introducing on-the-spot fines for culprits. These could range from cash to sanitation related community services such as cleaning of gutters. This will discourage open defecation, urinating at unauthorized places, fly-tipping and other improper disposal of solid and liquid wastes across the country. It is however pathetic sometimes that the very people reposed with the responsibility of ensuring order are themselves culprits. This notwithstanding the security services need to be firm and intrepid in dealing with culprits of environmental laws in the country.

Minimise the use of Plastic bags
Plastic waste to a large extent is non-biodegradable. The practice whereby goods are packed in plastic materials (even when one buys a sachet of water) should be discouraged. Consumers should develop the habit of reusing plastic bags such as polythene and cellophane, among others. Although paper bags are comparatively expensive, where they are available, consumers should always take good of them for reuse.

Francis Diawuo,
Email: diawuofrancis@gmail.com
Green Minds Ghana Initiative,
University for Development Studies -Wa, Ghana.

 

Source: modernghana.com

CONIWAS tasks Sanitation ministry to enforce bye-laws

By: Deborah Apetorgbor, GNA


Accra, Mar. 1, GNA – The Coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) has tasked the new Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources to eliminate all obstacles inhibiting the effective implementation of sanitation bye-laws.

The group said though education and sensitisation on sanitation and water had been progressive, lack of enforcement of the law had and would continue to have negative impacts on the effective execution of most initiatives in the sector.

Mr Benjamin Lartey, Spokesperson of the Civil Societies and Community Groups in Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH), at a media briefing on Wednesday, said though laws existed in the country against environmental degradation and sanitation, enforcement was weak and that had resulted in the poor sanitation condition prevalent today.

‘There is every indication that our enforcement institutions do not have the required capacities to enforce the laws,’ he said and added that many people continuously flout the laws yet go unpunished as the laws were not enforced to prosecute offenders.

He implored the Sanitation and Water Resources Minister to focus his attention and energy to section six of the Millennium Development Goals (SGDs) which stipulate the improvement in water quality, reduction in pollution, and the protection of water-related ecosystems.

Mr Lartey noted that these targets ‘are necessary for Ghana as the value for renewable internal sources of freshwater resources per capita had reduced drastically from 4,276 in 1962 to 1,131 in 2014,’ within a span of 52 years.

He observed that as much as education and sensitisation were powerful tools to combat sanitation challenges, enforcement of the bye-laws also played an indispensable role in realising the SDGs.

The WASH expert also mentioned that government had to complement the efforts of various households financially in the provision of household toilet facilities, as presently ‘there was no clear funding mechanism for household toilets’, and the burden of cost could not rest on the households alone.

He said more than five million people practised open defecation, with only a meagre 15 per cent Ghanaian households using improved household toilets adding that the problem of open defecation had to be tackled at the root as they were no decent toilets at home.

CONIWAS therefore believed that a sure way to reverse the situation would be for the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources to ‘pay particular attention to financing household toilet facilities by establishing a fund at the district level,’ adding that a percentage of the District Assemblies’ Common Fund could be set aside for that purpose.

The Coalition however pledged its support to the sector Ministry as it had gathered a wealth of experience since its establishment in 2003.

Present at the media briefing were 10 Civil Society Groups, 10 Community groups and representations from the media.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Nigeria: ‘Schools Lack Sufficient Toilets, Clean Water’

Interview

Comrade Idris Ismail Kehinde is the chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Gwagwalada branch in the FCT. In this interview he speaks on the challenges facing the union; poor infrastructure and shortage of teachers among others. Excerpt:

What are the major challenges facing teachers and students in Gwagwalada Area Council?

We are facing a number of challenges. The major challenge is that we don’t have a secretariat building for the union. If someone can come around and say I am building a secretariat for the union, we shall appreciate and give him the necessary support. Teachers have poor working conditions; the issue of teachers’ welfare is something that we have to lobby for before we get any improvement.

I think the present administration should be responsive and alert; it should know that the country can’t progress without honouring teachers. It has to change the way teachers are treated. Teachers are the ones left with the responsibility of addressing the discipline of children yet their welfare is poor. Do you know that in FCT if a teacher is transferred he won’t get his transfer allowance? This is very bad. I know of a teacher who was transferred to a school in another town and had to struggle to move there with his family without any transfer allowance.

Lack of housing allowance is another challenge. During the administration of then FCT minister, Malam Nasir el-Rufa’i, he looked at the peculiarity of Abuja and he was paying us 100 per cent housing rent, but we discovered that the previous administration had sliced off about 40 per cent housing of the allowance. They were paying us about 60 percent.

Another thing is that we are not benefitting from housing scheme of the Federal Mortgage Bank. We have been contributing but we have not seen the benefit. There should be hazard allowance and dressing allowance but we don’t get any. It is that bad.

What effort are you making to ensure that government addresses the dearth of teachers in schools?

The issue of poor teacher/pupil ratio is common everywhere in the FCT. The effort we are making in this regard is that we are discussing with the LEA secretary to ensure that government employs more teachers. We are equally calling on the federal government to send more N-Power teachers to our schools. So, we are putting pressure on the education secretary to ensure that enough teachers are employed.

Schools are facing dearth of teachers but we can’t say exactly the required number needed now to tackle the situation. We have enough classes in Gwagwalada that is why we don’t merge classes. Schools have good infrastructure and you can attest to this yourself. The classes are big enough to accommodate the children.

Source: allafrica.com

Create District Sanitation Fund For Household Toilet Facilities

By: Abubakari Seidu Ajarfor

 

Coalition of NGO’s In Water And Sanitation (CONIWAS) is calling on the current administration to pay particular attention to financing household toilet facilities by establishing a fund at the District Assembly.

Speaking at a news conference in Accra, the Spokesperson Civil Society Organization and Community Group in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Lartey Benjamin said government should dedicate portions of the District Assembly Common Fund to Sanitation Fund to assist community members to set up toilet facilities in their homes.

According to him, more that 5million people practice open defecation due to lack of decent toilets at home with Ghana being ranked as second to Sudan.

Ghana has been ranked as second in Africa in open defecation with 19 per cent of its population resorting to sanitation practice deemed the riskiest of all, a United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) report.

Mr. Benjamin added that surveys by a few projects indicate that more than 80% of households in low income communities have indicated that they need financial support – soft loans, grants etc, to enable them to install toilets at home.

He expressed worry that there is currently no clear funding mechanism for household toilets adding that in 2010, the government made a commitment to invest at least U$200 million annually in water and sanitation and a further U$150 million per annum towards hygienic treatment and disposal of septage and faecal sludge as well as sullage and storm-water management.

The Spokesperson added that government also made a commitment to make further allocations up to the minimum threshold of 0.5% of GDP to cover capacity building for hygiene education including proper hand-washing methods, country-wide outreach of Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and general enhancement of enabling elements.

He posited that these commitments made to the Sanitation and Water for ALL (SWA) Global Partnership in 2010 have not yet been honoured.

Owing to the fact that the requirement in the National Environmental Sanitation Strategy and Action Plan to set up a Sanitation Fund has also not been implemented.

Stressing on technology, Mr. Benjamin emphasised that there is no clear national programme to promote solid waste separation, treatment and reuse.

“The most common practice has been dumping of all sorts of waste at landfill sites, which are also becoming more difficult to find in recent years. As part of the government’s resolve to partner with the private sector to develop some other sectors, we expects the government and the new ministry to extend a similar drive to the solid waste management industry, whereby waste will be sorted, treated and re-used,” he intimated.

The Spokesperson indicated that government can launch a campaign to that effect and provide the enabling environment for private investors in waste management so that their interest could be sustained.

According to him, a 2014 Ghana Living Standards Survey indicates that more than 62% of households in Ghana drink water from sources contaminated with faecal matter and that people in rural areas are more than two times more likely to be affected than those in urban communities.

He said the priority technology for rural water supply in Ghana is the borehole since it is the most affordable option.

Mr. Benjamin however noted that more than 50% of rural households depend on wells, and well water is the most affected in terms of quality.

The Spokesperson indicated that lack of enforcement of the law has slow down or even prevent effective implementation of most initiatives in sanitation and water.

He urged the Ministry to therefore work to remove all obstacles that make enforcement of bye-laws difficult.

According to him, the sanitation and water sector is very weak in terms of documentation and information management. The sector lacks a central repository for critical information required for effective decision-making.

He added that information management systems, at the moment, are fragmented between various agencies and there is no central reporting mechanism.

Mr. Benjamin urged the Ministry to establish a central mechanism to harmonize all existing information management systems, coordinate sector research and produce periodic sector performance reports against the SDG indicators and targets.

He concluded that CONIWAS would be glad to learn that the new Sanitation and Water Resources Ministry is working to tackle the root causes of the challenges facing the sanitation and water sector – non-prioritization which underlies the perennial under-resourcing of the sector, non-enforcement of laws as a result of weak institutional capacities, weak research into modern technology options, and poor documentation and information management.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Poor Sanitation, A Menace In Ghana Today

 

Take a stroll through the principal streets of our major cities and towns in our country daily and you are likely to be greeted with heaps of refuse, dumped along various sections of the road, with its musky smell polluting all the corridors of the environment. Isn’t it worrying to see such unpleasant scenes in our capital cities, market squares, lorry parks,and other public places? Have we ever thought about the consequences that will befall us as nation if this activity is to continue? Can we find lasting solutions to this problem? There is the need for us to strive higher and reverse this horrific situation.

Negative attitude of some Ghanaians , inadequate centralized places of disposing filth, lackadaisical attitudes of some organization and institutions responsible for disposingrubbish ,etc are few causes that make rise to poor sanitation in our country.

It is very clear that a major challenge facing the various Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies is depositing sites where the waste generated from the public domain could be disposed. This is a major reason why we usually see heaps of trash ‘decorating’ our public centers. The various Assemblies do not know where to send these filth and as a result, leave them there until other alternatives are sought. This situation is worrying-some ,especially where the the piled-up refuse is situated closer to a market place. The dangers it poses to human life and health is quite threatening. This will continue to be a threat and a major challenge to the various assemblies so far as we refuse to think outside the box. The irony part of this whole situation is, that the task force assigned to take money from hawkers and market women and issue a ticket to them do not compromise in delivering their duty. They get to the latter to exhaust the monies from the poor tomatoes seller, the ice water seller,the roasted plantain seller, the ‘koko’ and ‘koose’ seller, among others in aid of keeping the environment and the entire country clean. What do we see then? The converse is what happens. Who is accountable for the monies collected ? Why then do these market women have to sit in the refuse and sell their wears although they have faithfully adhered to their part of the contract? We can go on and ask these questions, over and over and over again and we may never get the answers we need. Some heads must certainly roll at the various MMD’s Assemblies in other to curb this striking challenge.

Another reason that significantly contributes to the poor sanitation in Ghana is the negative attitudes of some Ghanaians. As illiterate as some of us are,blindly throw rubbish anywhere, anyhow and at anytime. Filth ranging from water sachets, to polythene bags, food containers and carriers, plastic bottles, canned drinks , papers, food items,etc are almost found everywhere especially in our so called big cities and towns. Conversely, sanitation in our villages and small towns are quite commendable as compared to the the major trading towns where we assume its residents are highly civilized. The worse form is found in our beloved National Capital, Accra and her trading partner-Kumasi. This situation is very alarming and stringent measures should be put in place to check this.

We do not need a soothsayers advice before we desist from such acts as its effects is very frightening and turns out to be a punishment in return. I am not amaze at the rate at which we get infected with malaria and cholera in our country. Statistics have shown that in every year, about …………. People are stroked down by these two dreadful diseases of which about …..people, both adults and youngsters loosing their lives. What can be more risky and menacing than something which causes others to loose their lives?

On another instance, flooding which we are cognizant with in our various regional capitals and towns in Ghana could not attributed to a natural phenomenon, but poor sanitation in Ghana. We do experience such situations because of our own careless attitudes. We dispose trash everywhere including water pits and drains. As a result of this, the water is not able to move freely as it should when it rains. The gutters eventually get chocked, making the water to overflow its bounds and automatically causes the entire place to flood. We are very much aware of the effects flooding has go on our lives and properties and we should not joke wit h such pertinent issues.

In our quest to maintain a clean and civic environment, it behooves all of us to perform our quota of responsibilities to ensure this. The government ,, the various Metropolitan, Municipal,and District Assemblies and the ordinary Ghanaian has got major task to play so our dream of having a clean and synthesized environment would materialize.

The government in her quest to put a stop to this should enact restrictive laws about sanitation and should keenly make sure that they are enforced to the latter. On another breadth, the government should make sure that all funds allocated to the various assemblies would be sent in time so those portioned for sanitation would also be used adequately to bring effective results.

The MMD’s Assemblies should also try their possible best to find lasting solutions to how refuse could be displaced. They can result to these modern technologies available in recycling waste to the benefit of the citizenry so this issue of sites for disposing refuse wouldn’t be news anymore. To our dear countrymen and citizens, Ghana is for all of us . And we decide on what and how our country should be. If we want Ghana to attain greater heights in development and sanitation, it is our sole responsibility to eschew all negative attitudes we have in regards to sanitation. Let us proceed in truth and unity to make our nation proud.

RAYNOLDS NYARKO DARKWAH
UNIVERSITY OF GHANA-LEGON.
2/03/17

 

Source: modernghana.com

Local governance and sanitation: Eight lessons from Uganda

The magnitude of the sanitation crisis means that sanitation and hygiene solutions must be delivered sustainably, and on a large scale. This requires the close involvement of government at all levels. A new case study outlines eight lessons from the Global Sanitation Fund-supported Uganda Sanitation Fund in coordinating, planning, and implementing Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) at scale through a decentralized government system.

Download the case study or read the feature article on wsscc.org.

image1_uganda_case_st

Local government health workers and latrine owners proudly display an improved latrine in Lira district, Uganda.©WSSCC/USF

 

Source: sanitation updates

New Website Promotes Urban Sanitation Innovation In Ghana

ACCRA, 23 February 2017 – The Sanitation Challenge for Ghana (SC4Gh) team has announced a new website to promote the urban sanitation innovation Prize.

Conventional interventions have failed to solve the sanitation crisis facing over 85% households in Ghana. To address this, the SC4Gh was launched in 2015, with a particular focus on urban liquid waste management. The challenge offers prize money worth GBP 1.426 million to Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), who develop and implement the most innovative solutions to increase access to sustainable sanitation services for all urban households.

The new website, sanitationchallenge4ghana.org – offers better access to information and updates about the contest, information on the 17 MMDAs that have reached the 2nd phase of the challenge, frequently asked questions, and a compilation of approaches and tools for implementing liquid waste management strategies.

Speaking on the launch of the website, Vida Duti, the IRC Ghana Country Director said:

“We are excited to be part of this inducement prize for MMDAs, working with government as the local implementing agent of the SC4Gh. Stage 1 (Duapa Awards) of the contest was hugely successful with 48 entries and 21 MMDAs winning awards. Stage 2 (Dignified City Award) of the SC4Gh, which focuses on implementation of liquid waste management strategies, is in progress as planned with 17 out of the 21 MMDAs vying for the ultimate prize. IRC will continue to support Ghana towards the achievement of its national WASH vision; ‘To provide sustained and appropriate water and sanitation services to all citizens by 2025.’ My hope is the redesigned website and its resources will contribute to this.”

Be part of the innovative solution and join the campaign that rewards excellence in urban liquid waste management strategies. Welcome to the new SC4Gh website!

 

Source: modernghana.com

Recognize WASH As a Climate Adaptation Strategy — WASH Actors in Ghana Advises

Inadequate knowledge or lack of it on climate change issues and how it affects the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector among Ghanaians has been identified as one of the major inhibiting factors militating against the country’s effort at combating climate change in Ghana. Policy makers and majority of actors in the WASH sector either lack adequate knowledge of climate change issues or how it impact on WASH or generally does not have interest on climate change.

That according to actors in the WASH sector account for the haphazard implementation of climate changes strategies and low understanding of the climate change among the populace and therefore called on policy implementers, civil society and all WASH sectors actors to intensify their learning and sensetisation activities on WASH based climate adaptation strategies in the Ghana. They also called for WASH to be recognized as climate change adaptation strategy. These were among a myriad of sentiments echoed by WASH sector actors at the fifty-eighth (58) edition of the National Level Learning Alliance Platform in Accra.

The 58TH NLLAP took place on Thursday 3RD November, 2016 on the theme, WASH Based Climate Adaptation Strategies in Ghana. Dr. Chaka Uzondu, Ag. Head of Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns Department of WaterAid Ghana made the first presentation on “Climate Change is Water Change, So Should Ghana Prioritize Human Water Centered Adaptation as Our Key Response to Climate Change?” Dr. Emmanuel Tachie-Obeng of the Ghana Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave an insight into the “National Climate Change Policy Framework in Ghana.” Lovans Owusu-Takyi, Director, Institute for Sustainable Energy and Environmental Solutions (ISEES) took actors in the WASH sector through “Climate Smart Solutions for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.” NLLAP 58 was chaired by the Executive Secretary of the Water Resources Commission, Ben Y. Ampomah.

According to WaterAid Ghana (WAG) and the Ghana Youth Environment Movement (GYEM) the National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) which is Ghana’s policy response to climate change, must provide the vision and guiding framework for an integrated response to climate change and that they added must be anchored to the national sustainable development priorities such as:

  1. Agriculture and food security, (2) Disaster preparedness and response, (3) Natural resource management, (4) Equitable social development, (5) Energy, industrial and infrastructural development.

Stakeholders were also clear on the fact that, adequate steps have not been taken at national and local levels to strengthen resilience to climate change/variability. They also contend that, climate change policies and strategies have been weakly decentralised; and adaptation strategies are not well elaborated and WASH in particular is not recognised as a fundamental adaptation strategy. In this regard, WAG and GYEM are of the view that Climate Change has an enormous impact on water and with the increasingly volatile and insecurity in the availability of water in the right quantities, communities require access to water and sanitation if they are to survive and thrive in the face of the change. In view of that, WAG and GYEM recommends that:

  1. WASH Should Be Recognized As a Climate Adaptation Strategy

By that, WAG and GYEM are urging the Government of Ghana, the agencies and institutions responsible for implementing the National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) and the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (NACCAS) as well as developing partners to recognize the rights to WASH as a climate adaptation strategy.

  1. Stakeholders Should Develop and Implement Robust WASH Based Climate Adaptation Strategies

To achieve this, WAG and GYEM has called on implementing bodies of the programme of actions to develop, implement and promote sustainable WASH based climate adaptation strategies such as, rain harvesting technologies, waste management infrastructure, tree planting programs, water resources management systems and the provision of adequate sanitation facilities in public places(e.g. Health care facilities, Schools, major markets and transportation hubs)

  1. WASH Based Climate Adaptation Strategies Should Be Decentralized

To achieve the desired results, WAG and GYEM have suggested that, implementing institutions should mainstream WASH based climate adaptation strategies at the local government level and commit to supporting participation in programs at the Metropolitan, Municipal, and District levels through capacity strengthening and technical support to officers and officials of all MMDAs in the areas such as; climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. Additionally, MMDAs need to develop Water Security Plans that are appropriately funded and implemented.

  1. Efforts to Achieve Full WASH Coverage by 2025 Should Be Strengthened

The Government and implementing bodies of WASH and climate adaptation strategies should form an effective and efficient partnership to work towards ensuring full WASH coverage for all by 2025 through the implementation of all the WASH based climate adaptation strategies outlined in the NCAAS and the GH-INDC document.

  1. Sustainable Finance for Full and Effective Implementation of WASH Based Climate Adaptation Strategies to Reduce Inequalities Should Be Provided.

To achieve results, the Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Unit (NRECC) of the Ministry of Finance has been urged to coordinate and track the flow of funds from both domestic and international sources for the implementation of WASH and climate adaptation strategies and make sustainable funding available from the national level down to the local level. To this end, a conscious link should be created between the Ministry of Local Government & Rural Development (MLGRD), the Local Government Service and the MMDAs to ensure regular flow of funds to the local levels. WAG and GYEM is of the firm believe that local leaders and community members should be empowered to play leadership roles in the monitoring and implementation of climate resilient WASH projects.

  1. Parliamentary Oversight on WASH and Climate Adaptation Finance Delivery Should Be Enhanced

Stakeholders at the forum also called on Parliament to recognize and make WASH a priority. Stakeholders contend that, Parliament, especially, the Parliamentary Select Committee on Environment, Science and Technology should push for adequate allocation of budgetary support to climate changes issues and institutions. The Parliamentary Select Committee should strengthen legislation that would enable MMDAs to receive the technical and financial support to develop integrated adaptation plans that are aligned with their national planning systems and development goals.

  1. Civil Society Should be Engaged More in WASH and Climate Adaptation Program of Actions

The success of any WASH and Climate Adaptation Programme according stakeholders depends on Government’s ability to engage with CSOs and all implementing bodies of WASH Based Climate Adaptation Strategies. For CSOs and Implementing bodies to play their advocacy roles effectively they require the needed knowledge and skills set, and to achieve that, WAG and GYEM further suggested that their capacities should be strengthen.

  1. More Youth Should Be Given Adequate Roles in Decision Making on WASH and Climate Change Adaptation

WASH sector actors says the youth of Ghana are endowed with so much talent and therefore must be involved in all activities intended to promote or implement WASH and climate adaptation strategies by the Government and implementing bodies through the National Youth Authority (NYA) as well as involving the NYA in all decision-making processes and programme of actions both local and national level. Implementing bodies should use youth friendly outlets like social media, entertainment, and other educational platforms to ensure active and diverse youth participation in the process.

Specific Recommendations
Participants at the end of the NLLAP 58 proposed the following:

  • That school level activities with behaviour change communication materials and tree-growing activities with integration of water harvesting should be scaled-up.
  • That, there is the need to increase awareness/education on climate change issues in general and WASH in particular
  • That implementation of WASH and climate change related issues should be harmonised
  • That, policy makers should create more knowledge sharing and learning opportunities to educate themselves on climate change related issues
  • That, the youth should be engaged adequately on climate change & WASH issues
  • That, monitoring the implementation of climate-related activities at the community level should be intensified as well as identify clearly the actors engaged in the monitoring.
  • That, there is the need to deepen people/citizens understanding of the climate change vis-à-vis WASH
  • That, there is the need for WASH Climate Resilient Development: since, “Climate Change is WASH Change”
  • That programmes for and engagement of the media should be intensified
  • That, a Communication Strategy for effective dissemination of climate change issues at all levels— regions, district and community should put in place.
  • That, the role of CSOs in the climate change interventions—monitoring implementing agencies and issues of accountability should be highlighted.

The NLLAP is a WASH sector multi stakeholder platform with the overall goal of improving sector learning and dialogue. It is hosted by the Ghana WASH Resource Centre Network (RCN). The platform offers learning and sharing opportunity for sector players as one of the practical approaches to improving sector engagements/sharing with the long term aim of achieving a knowledge driven WASH sector that delivers quality and sustainable services in Ghana. NLLAP meetings take place on the last Thursday of every month and opened to all interested parties. The discussions of each NLLAP meetings are summarised and shared with wider WASH community. The topics of upcoming meetings are decided on by the RCN secretariat and a list of upcoming meetings can be found on the RCN website www.washghana.net .

 

Source: modernghana.com

Innovative Financing And Enforcement Of Sanitation By – Laws Are Cardinal To Improved Sanitation In Ghana

One most important issue that dominates and continues to dominate in any discussions on sanitation and hygiene is financing, innovation, private sector participation and enforcement of sanitation bylaws. NLLAP 59 was no exception, as a participant upon participant shared varied experiences and opinions regarding how innovative financing, innovative sanitation technologies, private sector led sanitation marketing and promotion, and enforcement of sanitation bylaws by the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies could contribute immensely to a significant improvement in sanitation and hygiene in Ghana. Participants were unanimous on the fact that innovative financing was indeed needed to drive accessibility of toilet facilities to poor households in communities, while ensuring the enforcement of sanitation bylaws through collaborative efforts of the EHSD, the Police Service and the Judiciary.

The 59TH NLLAP took place on Thursday 1ST December, 2016 on the theme, Advocacy for Toilet in Every Compound in Ghana. Mr. Emmanuel Addai, a Communication Expert with the Hope for New Generation (HFNG) Services made a presentation on “Advocacy for Toilet in Every Compound in Ghana,” spelling out Findings from Annual Learning and Adaptation of Compound Sanitation (CS) Strategies in Ga West and Kumasi. NLLAP 59 was chaired by the Director, Environmental Health and Sanitation Department of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Naa Lenason Demedeme .

Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) has been implementing a 5-year compound sanitation strategy in Ga West and Kumasi dubbed “Toilet in Every Compound”. The Programme hopes to reach 80,000 and 10,000 residents in Ga West and Kumasi respectively with improved access to compound toilets.

Key Findings
Taking participants through the study findings from the Annual Learning and Adaptation of Compound Sanitation (CS) strategies in Ga West and Kumasi, Mr. Emmanuel Addai, outlined the following as key findings of the assessment of the Compound Sanitation Programme, having implemented the Programme for more than a year now:

  • The Compound Sanitation strategy adopted by WSUP was in line with the national strategy for sanitation delivery
  • A comprehensive strategy with various options to ensure success of programme was well implemented
  • Key structures in the implementation plans such as Compound Sanitation Steering Committee (CSSC), Toilet Sales Agents (TSAs), Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs), Toilet producers, Environmental Health Assistants (EHAs), Sanitation Court were functioning well.
  • The opportunities for private sector investments in the programme were abound.
  • All stakeholders are willing to contribute to the success of the programme
  • There was slow or limited private sector investors in the programme and that manifested in the low number of Microfinance Institutions and toilet producers involved.
  • The pace of latrine construction was slow;
  • 53 out of the targeted 5,000 compound toilets by 2019 were completed as at the end of September 2016 serving 521people in the Ga West Municipality
  • 73 out of the targeted 4,500 compound toilets were completed as at end of September 2016 serving 1408 people in the Kumasi Metropolis.
  • Support from MFI in terms of disbursements/funding for household toilets construction was low;
  • Out of 53 toilets constructed in the Ga West Municipality, 7 were supported by Microfinance Institutions.
  • Out of 73 latrines constructed in the Kumasi Metropolis, 28 were supported by Microfinance Institutions.

Demand Led Challenges

  1. Loan processing regime most applicants complained were quite cumbersome
  2. High interest rates also discouraged households from accessing loans for toilets (36%/annum)
  3. Limited Financing Options
  4. Limited latrine technology options
  5. High Cost of Toilet Products

Supply Led Challenges

  • Difficulty in promoting Loans for Sanitation
  • High cost of loans
  • Negative consumer perceptions about bank/Microfinance Institutions loans
  • Inadequate or lack of collaboration among some stakeholders such as the Environmental Health Assistants/Officers and Toilet Sales Agents (TSAs) leading to duplication of efforts.
  • Inadequate internal revenue generation by the Assemblies to support sanitation
  • Low motivation/incentives for some key stakeholders – TSAs, CSSC, EHAs, etc.

General Challenges

  • Limited innovative financing products
  • Limited investor interest
  • Linkages of consumers to financial institutions
  • Multiple landlords
  • limited space for latrine construction,
  • Unfavourable soil structures
  • Cash deposit/Financial Security for Accessing Loan Facilities

Key Lessons Learnt

  • The Metropolitan Assemblies are opened to innovative partnerships and eager to find innovative technologies and solutions to the household sanitation problems
  • The Metropolitan Assemblies are making all efforts to contribute funds in partnership with the private sector within a framework of an MoU
  • Households are more willing to own toilets in their compounds, if the latrines are made more affordable with flexible financing options.
  • It is difficult to find cheap financing products for toilets
  • Some financial institutions are enthusiastic of creating business around sanitation in the Assemblies.
  • Loan processing for toilets are perceived to be very cumbersome

Stakeholder Suggestions
Stakeholders at the end of the session suggested the following actions to be considered to help improve the Compound Sanitation programme:

  • The Building Permitting regime should be tightened to strictly ensure sanitation facilities are included in plans before they are approved.
  • Sanitation Courts should be created and existing ones strengthened through training of Magistrates and prosecutors on sanitation laws to successfully prosecute offenders.
  • Improve motivational packages for stakeholders to increase their commitment to the programme.
  • The Sanitation Inspectors (Nsama Sama) concept should be revisited and used as an instrument for ensuring household sanitation.
  • There should be enhanced collaboration between EHSD, Police Service and the Judicial Service to effectively enforce the sanitation by-laws through prosecution of offenders.
  • Assemblies should revise, update and gazette their sanitation by-laws as well as enforce them.
  • Parliament should review the LI on payment of fines regime so that portions of the fines can be retained by the Assemblies to enable them carryout their activities.
  • Assemblies should create the enabling environment through market guarantees in order to develop Sanitation Entrepreneurs to lead the process of providing affordable and quality household toilets for communities.
  • Preparation of Bill of Quantities (BOQ) on the construction of household toilets should be reviewed and premised on economies of scale in order to reduce the cost of producing toilets facilities, thus making it affordable and accessible to poor households.
  • Households should encouraged to share the risk through guarantee funds/deposits
  • Continue to explore cheaper latrine technology options
  • Make loan acquisition and processing less cumbersome
  • Provide technical assistance to stakeholders in the promotion of hygiene and sanitation.
  • Peer learning and sharing of success stories from Compound Sanitation programme and other similar sanitation projects must be encouraged
  • Institute innovative income generation strategies like Sanitation Charges on Property Rate to mobilise revenue could help achieve the objectives of CS
  • WSUP must engage with the MA to rectify the disparities between the MOU and proposal in the Implementation strategy regarding financing
  • Intensifying engagement with the private sector to increase more private-sector investment in the programme
  • Designing cheaper toilet options which do not compromise quality for promotion

The NLLAP is a WASH sector multi stakeholder platform with the overall goal of improving sector learning and dialogue. It is hosted by the Ghana WASH Resource Centre Network (RCN). The platform offers learning and sharing opportunity for sector players as one of the practical approaches to improving sector engagements/sharing with the long term aim of achieving a knowledge driven WASH sector that delivers quality and sustainable services in Ghana. NLLAP meetings take place on the last Thursday of every month and opened to all interested parties. The discussions of each NLLAP meetings are summarised and shared with wider WASH community. The topics of upcoming meetings are decided on by the RCN secretariat and a list of upcoming meetings can be found on the RCN website www.washghana.net .

 

Source: moderghana.com