Ho fights sanitation problem

waste-1The Ho Municipal Assembly, which is grappling with inadequate logistics and sanitation-apathetic citizenry, on Monday, launched its 2013 Sanitation Week.

The assembly is confronted with pressure on public toilets, open defecation, garbage strewn alleys, choked gutters and poor food hygiene by food vendors.

Mr Francis Abotsi, Volta Regional Environmental Health Officer told Ghana News Agency that sanitation improvement interventions such as the Community Led Total Sanitation, could turn the tables.

The Assembly is sponsoring the Week in collaboration with the North Local Government Co-operation Programme City, (Lahti) Finland.

Mr Abotsi said while water coverage in the region is 63 per cent, sanitation coverage is about 16 per cent.

He said as a result of poor sanitation, malaria and intestinal worm infestations had been listed as among the top 10 diseases in the region.

Mr Abotsi observed that “increased generation of solid and liquid waste, especially in large urban areas has rendered most municipal and district assemblies ineffective in the management of wastes”.

He said data available indicates that less that 40 per cent of “urban residents are served by solid waste collection services and less than 30 per cent by acceptable household toilets”.

Mr Abotsi said “generally, majority of urban dwellers dispose of solid waste indiscriminately into the environment” and “all kind of wastes, regardless of their nature, are dumped into drains and even…along the streets”.

“The public toilets are over-patronised and therefore overloaded, while human excreta are indiscriminately disposed of in black polythene bags and thrown into open drains,” he noted.

Mr Abotsi observed that some new houses springing up in the emerging dormitories of Ho had no toilets, wondering how their owners got their plans approved.

Mr Kenneth Kpedekpo an Administrative Officer, who represented the Municipal Coordinating Director, said the Week, is to nudge people about sanitation issues.

He said programmes for the week included quiz competitions among selected schools, stakeholder activities, public awareness creation and clean up exercises.

Mr Francis Ganyaglo, Deputy Regional Minister in a speech read on his behalf said tackling sanitation requires the efforts of all and sundry.

“We create and dispose of them (garbage) as if someone else will have to deal with that.  We fell trees without planting them back.

“We defecate where we are not supposed to, we pollute and choke our gutters, pollute water bodies and litter our surroundings with impunity,” he said.

Ms Anna Aalto, Project Coordinator of the North- South Local Government Coordination Programme, a sister city partnership involving the City of Lahti (Finland), and Ho (Ghana) and Bojanala Platinum (South Africa) said it is important sanitation coverage rise as water coverage is rising.

She said the dry toilet system, which Finland had introduced through the partnership, to help tackle the huge level of latrine deficit in the Ho area, it is good and sustainable.

Dry toilets use natural processes to turn human excreta into manure and with little or no water potential pathogens are killed by a variety of processes, including die-off and predation by other microorganisms.

Source: GNA

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