Three Developments In Accra That Have Gone Against The Grain Of Innovation

Photo : Wikipedia

October 31, 2017 is World Cities Day; a day set out to examine urbanization as a phenomenon and iron out its successes and challenges. I happen to live in a large urban center- Accra. Accra is the capital city of Ghana, and it’s not surprisingly the most densely populated city in the country.


Photo : UN

The last census in 2010 puts the city’s population at 2,076,546.  If you think that’s high then you may be surprised at another statistic- if the annual the growth rate of 2.2% is anything to go by we may be hovering at little over 5,000,000 people right now! The question we must ponder over is whether the city has evolved to accommodate this bulge in numbers.

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Engineer advocates ban of pit latrine

Agyina (BA), May 8, GNA – Mr Patrick Kwakye, the Kintampo South District Assembly Engineer, has called for a legislative Instrument to ban the construction and use of pit latrines in local communities.

He observed that the poor use and maintenance of pit latrines were the causes of cholera outbreaks and other intestinal diseases.

Mr Agyina was addressing the chiefs and people of Agyina, a farming community in the Kintampo South District to sensitise them on a sanitation programme launched in the district.

Dubbed ‘Community Led Total Sanitation’, the programme was initiated by Kintampo South District Assembly in collaboration with World Vision International Ghana, and is aimed at combating open defecation in the communities.

He explained that a modern household toilet ought to be promoted, explaining that Legislative Instrument would force landlords to build the in-house toilets.

Mr Kwakye said the district Assembly and the World vision had developed such household toilets which were very affordable adding that with support from the world vision, such toilets would be constructed in deprived households in the district on pilot basis.

Throwing more light, he explained that the programme which started last year was being piloted in 16 communities in the district ad it would be extended to other communities.

He said World Vision had designed special packages for communities which would achieve the objectives of the programme, and appealed to Assembly members and traditional rulers to support the programme for its success.

Mr Gyaataah Soragious Tang, the Assemblyman for Agyina, commended the World Vision and the district Assembly for selecting the community to benefit from the programme, and assured that the community would also provide the required support.



Sanitation authority needed to enforce laws – ESPA

By: Jonas Nyabor,

he Environmental Service Providers Association (ESPA) believes that Ghana’s sanitation problems can best be addressed when the government takes serious steps to enforce the country’s sanitation by-laws.

It said there is the need for the creation of a sanitation authority to coordinate efforts of all sanitation stakeholders to ensure that the cities are clean.

The Executive Secretary of ESPA, Ama Ofori-Antwi in an interview on Eyewitness News on Friday expressed fear that there would be a duplication of roles by some government ministries and departments such as the Ministry for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Ministry for Sanitation and Water resources as well as the Local Government Ministry if the authority is not created.

“What I will recommend to the government is a sanitation authority, because what is happening now is that we have a lot of duplication. We have Local Government ministry, MESTI and now Sanitation and Water resource ministry….[We need] the authority so that everything on sanitation goes through the authority to ensure that we have the city clean, which can be done.”

Ama Ofori-Antwi said although the government has expressed some political will and commitment to addressing the issue of filth especially in the capital, Accra.

Series of news reports gathered by Citi News in the last week shows that there is a worsening sanitation crisis in the capital with city authorities struggling to deal with the situation.

Sections of major roads in the capital have been taken over by filth, usually dumped there by residents in nearby areas.

The problem reveals an apparent inability of the relevant bodies to effectively manage waste generated in the capital especially those generated domestically.

But the Executive Secretary of ESPA says Ghanaians need to be oriented to change their attitudes with regards to managing their waste while enforcement agencies are deployed to ensure that they comply with the laid down sanitation laws.

“I think Attitude is one key thing that needs to be addressed… It is about time our laws are enforced. We need an enforcement of the sanitation bylaws. If the laws were being enforced, we wouldn’t be where we are. It is a very complicated thing that needs a holistic approach in solving it.”



Teshie residents kick against Daben Cleaning Services

By: Kwame Larweh

Residents of Teshie Nungua Estates and GREDA Estates have vowed to embark on a demonstration if the Ledzokuku Krowor Municipal Assembly (LEKMA) does not abrogate “a midnight” contract it awarded to refuse collecting company, Daben Cleaning Services, in December last year.

They are also refusing to pay the GH¢50 monthly fee the cleaning agency has planned to charge them.

The angry residents who spoke to the Daily Graphic noted that Zoomlion Ghana Limited, the usual refuse collecting agency, had been collecting refuse for the past 15 years and charged them only GH¢20 a month.
They added that after the contract with Daben, whom they have dealt with before in the past and rejected due to the unsatisfactory services, refuse had piled up in their houses.
An agitated resident told the Daily Graphic that in the past, the refuse agency that worked in the area collected any amount of refuse provided the client paid the stipulated fee.
The Daily Graphic sighted a letter signed by the Municipal Coordinating Director on behalf of the MCE which gives Daben Cleaning Services the authority to collect refuse from Teshie Nungua Estates, GREDA Estates and its environs.
According to a resident, Mr Ebo Bartels, they paid for their own refuse, not LEKMA and, therefore, LEKMA could not decide who should collect their refuse.
They vowed to resist any attempt by LEKMA to force Daben Cleaning Services on them.
The residents have, therefore, given LEKMA a one-week ultimatum to bring back Zoomlion or they would hit the streets with a massive protest.

Meanwhile, an official of LEKMA, Mr Kodjoe Dekpo, told the Daily Graphic that not a single resident had come to launch a protest against Daben Cleaning Services at his office.
He contended that residents had the right to determine who collected their rubbish if they had a problem with any of the refuse collecting agencies.
However, Mr Dekpo described the recent agitation as rumour-mongering from unscrupulous persons and accused some officials of Zoomlion for the confusion currently raging in the municipality.
He was, however, surprised that with no report of any complaint from residents against Daben, some residents who had never made a report to LEKMA were claiming they did not like the services of the cleaning agency.


Source: Graphic online

The fight against open defecation: can it be won

By Amadu Kamil Sanah

Accra, March 28, GNA – Ghana has been ranked as second after Sudan in Africa, in open defecation with 19 per cent of the country’s population resorting to sanitation practices deemed the riskiest of all.

As a result, the country spends about $79 million and more yearly on the control of open defecation, which poses one of the greatest dangers to human health and has fatal consequences for the most vulnerable including children.

Open defecation is defined as the practice of attending natures call in the bush, at the beach, in drains and dump sites.

According to the Chief Officer at the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, (WASH), Unit of the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), Ghana, David Duncan as at April 2016, indicates that three out of five Ghanaians practice open defecation and that in the last 25 years, Ghana made only one per cent progress at eliminating the practice of open defecation.

This means that Ghana could take 500 years to eliminate the practice of open defecation due to the slow pace at which strategies, laws and interventions are being implemented.

Causes Open defecation is increasingly becoming alarming in many parts of the country putting residents at the risk of sanitation related diseases such as cholera, diarrheoa and typhoid among others.

The lack of adequate and accessible toilet facilities in public schools, health facilities and household latrines are the major cause of open defecation in Ghana.

School children below the ages of 10 are often seen defecating around the premises of public institutions freely without any reprimand thereby giving a very bad smell to residents of the vicinity.

The increase in population without the correspondent increase in toilet facilities, the lackadaisical attitude of landlords to put up household toilet facilities coupled with the abuse of the few ones available by the ignorant people are some of the reasons believed to have caused some residents to resort to open defecation.

Impact on Ghana
The impact of open defecation on Ghana’s socio-economic development cannot be overemphasised.

Health experts have indicated that there is a direct correlation between open defecation and diseases such as dysentery, typhoid and cholera among others.

This is no doubt that in the wake of the outbreak of this diseases government spends huge sums of money in the procurement of medicines to manage the problem.

Apart from that, productivity sectors such as agriculture, industries, trade and the economy including all the government sectors are often affected leading to lower productivity.

The outbreak of diseases could also lead to many deaths as witnessed in the 2014 outbreak of cholera, which claimed more than 200 lives in the country.

In the last few years, UNICEF, with support from Canada and The Netherlands, have been working to educate and sensitise Ghanaians on the menace of open defecation.

These agencies are also providing sanitation facilities to more 300 schools and health facilities in the country.

Some artists in a platform are given the rare opportunity to express open defecation through art in various forms, which has helped to raise awareness whilst August 2016, UNICEF, in partnership with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural development, awarded three journalists who dedicated their stories to educating their audience on open defecation.

Possible solutions
The five-year 150 million- dollar Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) Sanitation and Water Project funded by the World Bank through the International Development Agency (IDA) grant to provide water and sanitation services to urban communities within the catchment area must be expanded nationwide.

The project is currently being implemented in 11 Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies in the GAMA and aimed at building 19,000 toilets.

It is also expected to build 250 school toilets for schools within the Greater Accra Metropolis and also applying some behavioral change communication strategies to work on the mind of the people regarding open defecation.

The toilets are to address the acute sanitation and water challenges confronting the urban communities, particularly the low income areas.

So far more than six household toilets have been built through the project, but the low uptake is due to the challenges of financing by the households.

The sanitation challenge cannot be solved by just building toilets. However, institutions such as Finneco Solutions and innovative toilet designs, Skyforks and Samalex could help solve the building of easy manage household toilets in Ghana.

The private sector has been identified as a key player in efforts to rid the country of filth and insanitary conditions.

Also, some private sector players have expressed the need for the revision of the decentralisation policy to address urban waste management problems and challenges.

But the institutions in the private sector are faced with challenges such as lack of access to financial credit and lack of government support.

Suggested remedies to curb the menace
First of all, the most important thing is to enforce existing sanitation laws and must be made mandatory that all compound houses and other abode in the country must have decent toilet facilities accessible not only to the landlords and family but to all tenants and occupants.

Secondly, there should be a strong political will by the government to improve sanitation in order to improve upon the lives of the citizenry.

A major national public campaign against open defecation and promotion of good sanitation practices should be there and public toilet facilities in deplorable states should be renovated and put into good shape to attract users.

New and modern public toilet facilities should be constructed and efforts must be taken to making public latrines free of charge and accessible at all times and most importantly, government should support and encourage environmental NGOs in their campaign to promote good sanitation.

The Way forward
It is very relevant to note that among the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

Ghana’s efforts at achieving the SDGs on Sanitation and Water may be affected by the problem of open defecation.

The Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) module, which has been tried and tested and proven to be very effective and cost effective is an effective tool for curbing open defecation in the country particularly in northern Ghana.

Under the CLTS, communities are trained and equipped with indigenous technology available materials at the community level to build household latrines, educated to understand the health hazards of bad sanitation practices and to help to initiate their own methodology.

The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in collaboration with UNICEF in 2012 piloted the concept in five districts in the Upper East Region namely, the Bongo, Bawku, Garu, Kassena-Nankana West and Builsa Districts and made a significant impact with regard to sanitation.

Water borne diseases and other diseases associated with sanitation was drastically reduced in the piloted communities



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.



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.



Ashaiman pupils cry over ‘toxic’ dump site near school

By: Elvis Washingon,

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.


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’.