Twenty two per cent of Ghanaians do not have access to any sanitation facility, the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Ms Cecilia Abena Dapaah has noted.
She also noted that poor sanitation, costs Ghana over 290 million dollars annually, according to Water and Sanitation Programme(WSP) of the World Bank.
The above sum, she said is the equivalent of 12 dollars per person in Ghana per year or 1.6 percent of the National GDP.
The statistics was made known in a speech read on her behalf by her Deputy, Mr Michael Gyato at the launch of the Environmental Sanitation Project organised by the Ghana Journalist Association(GJA).
She stated that the statistics on environmental sanitation in Ghana are very worrying and disheartening, adding that although Ghana’s economic fundamentals are better than many middle-income countries, it is ranked amongst the lowest in terms of sanitation.
“Unfortunately, the costs of poor sanitation are inequitably distributed with the highest economic burden falling disproportionately on the poorest in Ghana. These statistics confront us everyday with our drains, market places and pedestrian walk ways littered with plastics,” Ms Dapaah stated.
However, she said the sanitation problems cannot wait any longer, underscoring the need for Ghanaians to change their attitude in the way they dispose waste in the country.
“It is not one that we require only World Bank loans or grants to solve but one that calls for a change in our behaviour. For instance, as a people,, we can stop littering the environment, we can police each other and we can stop each other from dumping waste unto our streets and gutters. For those who will not change their bad behaviour, we must invoke the bye-laws to sanction them,” she said.
The 24 month project which forms part of the GJA’s responsibility to influence public policy making and implementation will educate the public on sanitation behaviour change and compliance with the laws, as well as enjoin the government and its agencies to deliver on their responsibilities.
The theme for the project is, “Media action for improved environmental sanitation behavioural change and compliance”.
It will be implemented in collaboration with environmental service providers, civil society organisations, private sector, development partners and citizens to support the government in the delivery of effective and efficient sanitation services.
For his part, the Accra Mayor, Mohammed Nii Adjei Sowah also noted the city Accra generates over 3,000 tonnes of waste everyday.
The whole Greater Accra, he said generates 7000 tonnes daily, while the entire nation generates about 17, 000 tonnes every day, attributing the figures to the jammed population in Accra.
However, he said the government has set a target to ensure that Accra is clean, with its focus on the actual collection of the waste, enforcement of our bye-laws and education.
“We cannot be successful in educating the general public without the active involvement of the media, and we are grateful that the GJA is leading the corpse to support us in the area of education. Because education leads to attitudinal change, the efforts that has been put in over the years, indeed we have chalked some significant success in Accra but there is more to be done,” he said.
Nii Adjei Sowah also said that despite government’s intervention to address the sanitation menace, it will only take attitudinal change to address the sanitation menace in the country.
He lauded the initiative, saying that continues education will enable the public change their attitude towards the way they handle waste in the country.
He added that the AMA will work closely with the GJA to ensure that Accra becomes the cleanest city in Accra.
Ghana| Atinkaonline.com| Porcia Oforiwaa Ofori