Ghanaians sign petition for safe water

water-2More than 18,000 Ghanaians have signed a global petition to demand safe sanitation and drinking water for all.

The petition, created by the End Water Poverty Coalition, is to be handed over to world leaders at the UN General Assembly being held in New York, demanding that they take action immediately.

The global petition has gathered more than one million signatures, with 180,000 coming from Africa and 670,000 from South Asia, two regions that have some of the lowest levels of access to sanitation and water.

A statement issued in Accra and copied to Ghana News Agency by WaterAid said the organisation had helped to canvass more than 150,000 signatures for the petition.

“Currently, nearly 14 per cent of people in Ghana representing 3.4 million lack access to clean drinking water, while 87 representing made up of 21.5 million lack access to sanitation.

“Every year in Ghana (more than) 3,500 children under the age of five die from diseases brought about because of a lack of access to these services,” the statement said.

Politicians at the second High Level Meeting of the Sanitation and Water for All partnership held in Washington D.C. in April 2012 made a number of promises with regards to water, sanitation and hygiene.

These include reducing open defecation by at least 15 per cent, improving water service access by at least five per cent and increasing access to improved sanitation services by at least five per cent by the 2015.

Ghana was represented by three former Ministers; Dr Kwabena Duffuour, Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Enoch Teye Mensah, Water Resources Works and Housing, and Mr. Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, Local Government and Rural Development, who made these pledges along with ministers from 39 other countries.

An estimated GH¢ 2.4 billion is required for Ghana to meet the sanitation and water Millennium Development Goals.

Last year Ghana launched a Sanitation and Water for All compact, pledging to commit $200 million annually for water and sanitation improvement and an annual $ 150 million for hygiene.

There was also a commitment of a minimum of 0.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product, will cover capacity building for hygiene education, including community led total sanitation  and capacity building.

Afia Zakiya, Country Representative of WaterAid Ghana stated: “Ghanaians have for far too long felt the injustice and indignity of being denied our human rights to water and sanitation.  The cost of the failure of governments to keep the promises they have made to provide these services, is borne most catastrophically in the needless deaths of our children.

“With our leaders gathered at the United Nations this week, we say that we can no longer wait indefinitely, that every woman, man and child should have these rights fulfilled by 2030.

“We wish our leaders well and hope they have fruitful deliberations, in order that their resolve would eventually translate the many High Level commitments into action resulting in the release of the necessary financial resources to implement policies, programmes and action plans to improve sanitation in the world.”

Source: GNA

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