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.



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.



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,
Green Minds Ghana Initiative,
University for Development Studies -Wa, Ghana.



Water shortage spreads across communities in four regions

By: Austin Brako-Powers,


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.”



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.



Nigeria: ‘Schools Lack Sufficient Toilets, Clean Water’


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.


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.



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.




South Africa: Fed-Up With Waiting, Residents of Informal Settlement Sort Out Their Own Water Supply

Fed-up with waiting for the authorities to help, residents of Santini informal settlement in Butterworth took matters into their own hands in 2011. After years of fetching water from the town nearby, residents decided to hire a plumber to connect a pipe to the main water line supplying the town. But residents remain without electricity or sanitation and they want the municipality to provide these services.

People have been living in Santini for 13 years. The 232 families came from around the Eastern Cape looking for jobs in Butterworth. Unable to pay rent in the township, they built shacks at Santini.

“There was a time where we were living without water,” said Tshepo Mbuqe, 28. “Then, as residents, we decided to generate money so that we can instal water pipes for ourselves. We asked every household to donate R30 … Then, we bought pipes. We hired a plumber … That is why we have water today … If we were to wait for government to give us water, we would wait until Jesus comes.”

Mbuqe said, “We are getting nothing from government in terms of service delivery. We still relieve ourselves in the bushes because we do not have toilets. It is very difficult to put pit toilets in the yard because our yards are very small.”

He said some people had illegal electricity connections; others used paraffin and candles, which was a fire risk.

“People who live in shacks are not taken seriously [by the municipality],” said Mbuqe.

Street committee member Nomvuzo Mthenjana said they wanted houses on the land where they were currently living. “Most of the [Santini] people are selling [hawking] in town and the clinic, hospital, banks, shop, schools and police station are not far for us,” she said.

Councillor Zolani Siyo said, “Government is still looking for land to build houses for the people of Santini.” He said it was difficult to develop the area because it was in the flood plain of a river and the land belonged to traditional leaders.

But traditional leader Chief Mlungisi Tsipa told GroundUp that the land belonged to the municipality. “I do not understand why the councillor says this land belongs to us,” he said. “Those shacks are built on the land of the municipality.”


Municipal Assembly to construct landfill site

By Albert Futukpor, GNA
Savelugu (N/R), Mar 03, GNA – The Savelugu/Nanton Municipal Assembly has begun the processes to acquire a 20-acre land to construct a landfill site to among others process waste materials into other resources.

Mr Issaka Braimah Basintale, Coordinating Director of the Assembly who announced this during a media outreach on the Sanitation Challenge for Ghana (SC4Gh) initiative at Savelugu, said the move was to address sanitation challenges in the municipality.

The SC4Gh, an initiative of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in collaboration with IRC Ghana, is an inducement prize to stimulate competition among Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.

It is also to encourage inclusive partnership for the design and implementation of liquid waste management strategies.

The media outreach, therefore, was to enable journalists to among others, interact with key local stakeholders on measures put in place to eliminate open defecation, reduce the sanitation gap between the rich and the poor, and increase access to basic and hygienic sanitation for all in the Assembly.

Mr Basintale said Zoomlion Ghana Limited had expressed interest to partner with them to construct the landfill site at Savelugu to improve sanitation for all at the municipality.

He said the Assembly was working to end open defecation in its communities by offering technical support to households to construct household latrines while, sensitising communities to embrace the community-led total sanitation (CLTS) concept to promote hygiene.

He said under the competition the Assembly had rehabilitated nine public toilets and constructed three institutional latrines while three communities attained open defecation free status.

He said they had also developed a by-law, which was in the process being gazetted to help enforce sanitation practices.

Mr Basintale said they were mobilising all resources to ensure successful implementation of the SC4Gh initiative in view of its immense benefits to the people.

Mr Kwame Asubonteng, Sanitation Lead at IRC Ghana commended the Assembly for its efforts to address sanitation challenges in the municipality calling on them to partner other innovative technologies to turn waste into resources.