Ms Precious Boateng, the Sanitation Ambassador of Empathy Ghana Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, has called for attitudinal change in Ghanaians to help in the fight against sanitation challenges confronting the nation.
She said the rate at which filth was causing outbreak of diseases and death among Ghanaians was alarming and underscored the need for all to make efforts in fighting head-on the menace.
The Pupil of Shepherds Scholars Preparatory School was speaking at the launch of basic schools sanitation clubs organised by the Ga East Municipal Assembly in Accra on Thursday to promote waste segregation.
The initiative, focused on school children to imbibe in them the concept of waste segregation from the cradle and transfer the good practice in their homes, market places, mosques and churches.
It was on the theme: “The Need for Effective Coordination among the Municipalities within the Region to Address the Issue of Waste Management.”
She indicated that statistically, the adverse effects of poor sanitation were disturbing, particularly, among children.
The World Health Organisation has revealed that “a child dies every minute from malaria which was caused by mosquitoes that breed and multiply in filthy environment.”
Another report from UNICEF has also shown that 82,000 children die before they attain age five due to improper sanitation conditions in the country.
Ms Boateng, therefore, noted that the President’s resolution to ensure that Accra becomes the cleanest city in Africa and that every day is sanitation day was apt.
She pleaded with the government and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to provide toilet facilities, potable water, waste bins for schools, markets and communities that do not have.
She appealed to authorities to ensure that food vendors everywhere practice good personal hygiene and proper sanitation and also urged the waste collection and management companies to do their work effectively by ensuring regular collection.
The Sanitation Ambassador commended the Assembly for coming out with the initiative and urged that the clubs be provided with resource persons, who would frequently visit the schools and educate members on sanitation.
Mr Anthony Mensah, reading a speech on behalf of the Minister of Sanitation, Water and Resources, said government had put in place measures to end the sanitation challenges.
He said the Assembly was starting the initiative with 30 schools with a total population of approximately 30,000, saying, educating this number of children with information on waste segregation would go a long way to improve sanitation in their schools and communities at large.
He said the benefits of engaging the school children would trickle down to households as children have proven to be very good change agents and propagate what they have been thought.
He said all over the world re-cycling had become the best way of waste management and it could be made much easier with the waste segregation.
Mr Mensah said, aside the 19,000 household toilets initiative and other projects embarked on by government to enhance sanitation, the Ministry was coming out with an integrated environmental and sanitation master plan for the GAMA area.
The master plan, he said, was aimed at ensuring effective management of environmental sanitation including; solid and liquid waste as well as drainage to solve the existing problems, he stated.
He, therefore, urged the assembly to collaborate with waste management companies so that participating schools could make money out of their efforts and also appealed to them to put in their best to ensure that there was a robust sustainability mechanism to maintain the initiative.
Professor Martin Oteng-Ababio of the Geography and Research Department, University of Ghana, commended the Assembly for the initiative and advised that in as much as children were educated on waste segregation, they should also be cultured on how to prevent waste generation to move the fight to higher levels.