Open defecation still a challenge in coastal communities
The only place of convenience serving the over 500 inhabitants at Nketsiahkrom, a suburb in the Sekondi Takoradi Metropolitan area has been shut down.
The community, which is along the coast of Sekondi, has therefore resorted to using the beach as a place of convenience as nature calls, and wantonly “packaging” human excreta in black polythene bags and dumping them into gutters and drainage outlets within the community.
A visit to the community by some members of the Ghana Network of Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Journalists revealed how the closure of the place of convenience some five years ago has contributed to environmental pollution besides the health implications on the lives of community members.
The outreach by the Network was sponsored by ” +1 Global Fund ” of Roddenberry Foundation and other partners.
Mr Stephen Thompson, a 78-year-old man told the team how he had to struggle in walking to a nearby public facility to ease himself adding, “you imagine if nature should call me in the night.
He therefore prayed for the government’s intervention of household places of convenience at affordable rates to ensure that various homes acquired some.
Mr Mohammed Hudu, the Environmental Officer for the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly when contacted, said the assembly had sold the idea of biodigester facilities to the various communities as a replacement for public places of convenience.
“Public places of convenience are for visitors and most of these facilities are even over 50 years old and need replacement or decommissioning…what we are encouraging now is home owned facilities. So, we will get back into the communities and engage them on it again.”
The situation at the Shama District was not different from Sekondi where a public place of convenience had been closed for almost three months without any alternative: household facility.
A group of opinion leaders revealed to the team how the men have over the period used the seashore as places of convenience.
“We have a bigger water closet here for all men, but our problem is that the women will be flying their packaged excreta over our heads and if you don’t position yourself well…then you go home bathed in faeces,” Nana Kojo Ackon, an opinion leader said.
Invariably, the water closet refers to the shore which they claimed come to flush their waste without them paying any water bill.
Mr Ebenezer Amokwadoh, the Assemblymember for the area affectionately called “Obama,” noted the various engagement with the District Assembly have been to no avail.
He said: “We have also petitioned the development chief of this area to come in and help us fix the facility while we plan to build individual facilities in the future.”
Meanwhile, Mr Emmanuel Andoh, the Presiding Member of the Shama District said the district was working to solve the sanitation challenges in the community and prayed that residents exercised restraint.