Attah Arhin (middle), addresing the press
The Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) has lauded government’s initiative to tackle the general sanitation issues of the country.
“Ghana is losing about $290 million annually due to poor sanitation and $79 million from open defecation,” Attah Arhin, Vice Chairman of CONIWAS, stated at a press conference in Accra on Friday.
He pledged the coalition’s preparedness to work with the sector ministry, agencies and stakeholders as it continues to remind government to ensure that the campaign succeeds.
It would be recalled that President Akufo-Addo’s launched the National Sanitation Campaign recently to help curb the nation’s sanitation challenge.
Mr Arhin observed that even though Ghana has made remarkable gains in safe water delivery, same cannot be said about sanitation and hygiene services in the country.
“Currently, only 15 percent of the Ghanaian population has access to improved toilet facilities that hygienically separate faecal matter from human contact. While over 19 percent of Ghanaians are practising open defecation, 60 percent of the population patronise public latrine. In the process, over 58 percent of solid waste is either crudely or indiscriminately disposed of.”
“About 22,000 tonnes of plastic waste is generated annually and only two percent of this is recycled. The other 21,560 tonnes find its way in the streets and the drains choking the sewage lines,” he further disclosed.
This practice, Mr Arhin revealed, has negative health implications, including flooding and visiting serious health consequences on society, especially children.
He called on both international and local organisations to help fight against such poor sanitation challenges.
According to him, expectations for the success of the initiative are very high and proposed the setting up of an authority whose sole responsibility would focus on sanitation issue only.
“The establishment of a WASH fund with much emphasis on improved sanitation will be an ideal idea,” he underscored.
The CONIWAS vice chairman explained that capacity building across the country is necessary with the assistance of field officers who will support the enforcement of the by-laws of the assemblies.
He advised that over-politicisation of most national issues would not help in dealing with serious problems but only hinder the nation’s progress.
BY Emmanuel Kubi