Water Crisis Hits Yendi Hospital

The front view of the Yendi Hospital

 

Reports reaching DAILY GUIDE indicate that the Yendi Hospital in the Northern Region risks closure over shortage of water at the facility.

Investigations conducted revealed that the hospital buys water five times daily from tanker drivers.

The hospital pays GH¢750 daily for water supply because a tanker of water is sold at GH¢50 to the facility.

A staff who spoke to DAILY GUIDE on condition of anonymity said the situation is a very big challenge to the hospital because they spend a lot on buying water.

A visit to the Yendi Hospital by the paper revealed that family members of patients on admission at the facility carry water from their various homes to the hospital for their patients.

In recent times, the Yendi Municipality has been hit with water shortage in the area, thereby, affecting business activities of residents.

The only source of water in the area which is the Dakar dam is slowly drying up day in day out, hence creating panic among residents.

The Yendi Hospital Public Relations Officer (PRO), Alhassan Wemah, told DAILY GUIDE that the hospital is a referral point for 12 districts in the Eastern Corridor and “so the water situation is worrying”.

According to him, the facility uses water more than any other thing simply because the entire department at the hospital demands water.

Mr Wemah disclosed that some relatives of patients who do not come from Yendi normally use water at the facility to bathe and wash the clothing of their relatives on admission.

He said even though Tamale Teaching Hospital is a referral point, Yendi Hospital receives more referral cases because of the number of district surrounding it.

The PRO appealed to the authorities in charge of the water situation to, as a matter of urgency, speed up the process to find a lasting solution to the problem in Yendi.

 

Source: modernghana.com

GWCL calls for steps to prioritise wastewater treatment

By: Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA


Accra, March 9, GNA – The Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) says less than 10 percent of wastewater in the country is treated and therefore called for measures in prioritising its recycling to enhance socio-economic development.

Mrs Margaret Macauley, the Chief Manager of the Water Quality Assurance Department (WQAD) of the GWCL, made the call at the media launch of this year’s World Water Day, in Accra, on Thursday, on the theme: ”Water and Waste Water”.

She said 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.

She said 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.

According to her, 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.

She said pragmatic steps must be taken 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.

The Chief Manager of the WQAD of the GWCL noted that most of the wastewater treatment plants were dysfunctional and 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.

She said: ”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.

Mrs Macauley observed that water was essential to human existence and core to sustainable development, and also played a critical role to the wellbeing and prosperity of the people.

She said 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.

She noted that water was needed for domestic, commercial and industrial purposes and, therefore, called for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to maintain its wholesomeness and availability.

The Executive Secretary of Water Resources Commission, Mr Benjamin Ampomah, who chaired the function, reiterated the need for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to tackle the menace of illegal mining which had polluted major water bodies across the country.

He said water was a valuable resource that played an essential role in human survival therefore the issue of illegal mining should be tackled with all seriousness and perpetrators made to face the full rigours of the law.

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.

This year’s theme: Water and Waste Water,” 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 its 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.

The celebration would be climaxed on March 22 with tour of some water recycled plants by various stakeholders.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Ashaiman pupils cry over ‘toxic’ dump site near school

By: Elvis Washingon, citifmonline.com

Pupils of the Ashaiman Presby A and B basic schools, are appealing to the Ashaiman Municipal Assembly to close down a major refuse damp which is very close to the school.

According to the pupils, they have no choice than to go home earlier than the normal closing time due to the smoke that emanates from the dumping site.

Apart from that, they say they have to put up with house flies in their classrooms as a result of the proximity to the dumping site.

The pupils who spoke to Citi News noted that, the situation makes learning difficult and uncomfortable.

“We don’t feel like schooling here anymore because we don’t like the smell that comes from the dumping site as well as the houseflies and the smoke. All the time, we have to inhale the thick toxic smoke and be killing houseflies with our bare hands. Our school uniforms are always smelly because of the problem we face here. Just yesterday one of our friends collapsed because the smoke was very thick and it lasted all through our school hours” they complained

A teacher who spoke to Citi News on condition of anonymity also noted that, they have petitioned the Municipal Assembly several times but to no avail.

He said “our school often than not closes the kids earlier than the normal closing hours because even we the teachers just cannot take the smoke and the stench from the site. Most of us teachers are contemplating leaving the school because our health is at stake”

Meanwhile Citi News has gathered that the pupils last week staged a mini demonstration when the Greater Accra Regional Minister Ishmael Ashitey paid a working visit to Ashaiman.

They appealed to the Regional Minister to as a matter of urgency order the Assembly to relocate the dumping site since it is having a negative effect on their health.

Source: modernghana.com

Water still our problem – Abutia women

Abutia-Kloe, March 10, GNA – Women at Abutia-Kloe in the Ho West District said access to potable water remained their greatest challenge in the farming community.

The women said they walked several kilometres to fetch water from streams after one of the two boreholes provided by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) broke down.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency at a forum by the Department of Gender to mark this year’s International Women’s Day at Abutia-Kloe, the women said it was an odd spectacle to see girls and women going round the community and beyond in search of water around 0400 hours.

They said in most situations, they returned home at about 0900 hours with little or no water for use at home.

A middle-aged woman who spoke on anonymity said the problem was affecting their tie and dye and gari and oil processing businesses.

She said the situation was also affecting the education of girls who were tasked to search for water before and after school, some of whom fell prey to boys and men, increasing cases of teenage pregnancy in the community.

Madam Boateng Sitsofe Ama, Assemblywoman, Abutia-Kloe Electoral Area, said the over 3,000 people living within the area depended on one borehole.

Madam Sitsofe said those who fetched water from the streams had the laborious task of sieving and boiling the water to avoid contracting waterborne diseases.

Ms Comfort Ablormeti, Volta Regional Director of the Department of Gender expressed worry about the situation and called for the empowerment of rural women economically, so they could contribute more to national development.

The forum was themed, ‘Economic Empowerment of Rural Women: A Tool for Sustainable Development in a Changing World of Work’.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Open Defecation, our collective responsibility

A GNA feature by Mohammed Abdul-Rashid


Accra, March 12, GNA – The record was forthright as it placed Ghana in the second position in Africa in Open Defecation (OD) with only 19 per cent of its total population resorting to good health and sanitation practices.

Northern Region was also ranked second in the practice of OD in Ghana.

This has triggered many attempts by writers and investigators to bring to bear the reasons behind this canker and a whole lot of reasons have been unearthed.

A survey conducted GNA recently indicated that, about 80 per cent of houses in Tamale Metropolis have no places of convenience.

It is an obvious fact that no one will like to leave his or her room to go to toilet in the bush right in the middle of the night, but circumstances have made it possible for people to take such risks.

Even though a number of politicians and about 30 NGOs in the Region are contributing massively toward sanitation and healthy life styles by building public toilets, the efforts are not enough to eradicate the delinquent behaviour.

The cost of patronising public toilets according to clients is so high that some of them are forced to engage in OD.

The survey revealed that the availability of open spaces, the forests and other vegetation cover makes the practice of OD to thrive.

Lack of awareness and poor attitudinal changes are also seen as the causes of the plague.

There was announcement of the position of the Region on the National Open Defecation Calendar in Tamale by Issahaku Alhassan, the Chief Director of the Regional Coordinating Council.

The survey indicated that seven out of 10 people questioned had no knowledge about the issues involved and the position of the Region on the calendar.

Problems of open defecation
Most of the people who are engaged in OD are not aware of the dangers involved in their action.

According to UNICEF one gram of faeces contains 10,000,000 viruses 1,000,000 bacteria and 1,000 parasite cysts.

It said faeces of children contain even more germs than adults.

In 2013 more than 340,000 children under five died from diarrhoea related diseases due to a lack of safe water, sanitation and basic hygiene – an average of almost 1,000 deaths per day.

In a media report the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Mrs Catherine Afeku indicated that the practice of easing oneself in the open especially along the country’s beaches had contributed to the low patronage of tourism in the country.

‘You cannot aggressively bring people for tourism when you have open defecation at the beaches,’ she said.

If Ghanaians do not know about the kind of embarrassment their actions are bringing to Ghana internally and the dangers it imposes on their lives, how then, can they cooperate with the authorities to bring an end to the devastating social canker?

Way forward
Both educative measures and corporal punishments are necessary to help curb the situation.

The people must be constantly educated through music, giant billboards and other innovative means about the dangers of their actions.

Stringent measures should also be taken to prevent people from using forests and the open spaces as toilets.

To do this, individual and corporate organisation that own plots of lands in the towns should be made to fence them to prevent OD and until the authorities begin to take the bull by the horn, OD will continue to thrive with impunity.

 

Source: modernghana.com

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

Water shortage spreads across communities in four regions

By: Austin Brako-Powers, myjoyonline.com

 

Several communities across the country are faced with acute water shortage, a situation officials blame on destructive human activities.

Residents in the Northern, Central, Western and Brong Ahafo Regions are left with no option but of trekking miles to access water from rivers that are fast drying up.

Officials of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) have attributed the shortage to drought and activities of illegal miners.

The company, a week ago, was compelled to shut down its plant in Sunyani in Brong Ahafo Region after the Tano River dried up for the first time in over 40 years. Sellers, school children and restaurant operators are the worst hit.

Reports by Joy News Regional Correspondents point to what appears to be a looming danger if authorities fail to act swiftly.

Central Regional Correspondent, Richard Kojo Nyarko reports that residents in Abura, a suburb of Cape Coast have been without water for nearly three weeks.

He said officials of GWCL have explained the situation is due to the erratic nature of power supply as well as activities of illegal miners.

“The water comes on for awhile and goes off, but for the past few weeks people don’t have water,” the reporter said.

The situation in the Northern Region is more complex, Regional correspondent Hashmin Mohammed reported.

He said the GWCL has been unable to preserve enough water for distribution due to some technical challenges.

Residents of Yendi would soon be left with no option than to drink contaminated water if authorities do not intervene because the Dakar river which supplement water produced by the GWCL is drying up.

The reporter said GWCL officials have promised to arrange for a water tanker to supply the people with water.

“That will mean that the service tankers will have to fetch the water from Tamale and journey to Yendi,” Hashmin said envisaging difficulties with the solution.

The situation in the Western Regional capital Sekondi-Takoradi is not any different. The Bosomase River is also drying up due to the impact of the activities of galamsey operators.

Residents say the situation has persisted for more than a month and have called on Water officials to address the shortage.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is warning the Pra River in the Western Region may dry up as it has happened to the Tano River in the Brong Ahafo Region.

Director for Natural Resources at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Carl Fiati said the failure of law enforcers to deal with illegal mining is compounding the problem.

“There will be the need for all to get involved, particularly the security agencies, to act decisively [but] this has not taken place and this is the result.”

 

Source: myjoyonline.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